Pb Elemental, Seattle
November 5, 2007, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Seattle, Urban Architecture


The synergistic team at Pb Elemental has been producing significant work here in the Seattle area over the last several years. The firm is a rare balance of architects, structural engineers, construction managers, real-estate professionals, and developers. Pb’s work maintains the discipline required of modernism at the same time preserving the warmth of northwest regionalism. The finished products of their hard work set an excellent example for dwellings here in the northwest and the behind the scenes do-everything approach is impressive. As a design-build-development firm ourselves, we greatly respect the number of hats that Pb must wear on each project to produce such high-caliber results.

Alexander Town homes
a1 web

Alexander 03





a2 web

Mount Baker Home

Mt. Baker web

Dang Home

Dang Home

Corson Lofts

Corson 02



Queen Anne Ave Residence
2007 AIA Honor Awards Commendation
“Located on Queen Anne Avenue, this bold home produces architectural drama, hiding private interior and an exterior patio space behind its strong street presence. The courtyard arrangement provides a ground level which seats seamlessly in walls of glass doors. The third floor contains three bedrooms and a study/leisure room, in the rear is a fully independent accessory dwelling.” – Pb Elemental

Queen Anne Home

Queen Anne House 02

Queen Anne House 03

Queen Anne House

Queen Anne House

The jury commented that they admire the unconventional massing and relationship to the site, the thoughtfulness of daylight and view and the intentional carving of indoor/outdoor space. Congratulations Pb Elemental.


8 Comments so far
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Love these projects – it’s great to see more and more modern design be integrated into residential projects …


Pb Elemental has done some nice work, but…that Queen Anne Residence by Pb Elemental is absolutely horrible from the street, and a disaster for that neighborhood. Why do people insist on building large walls and no windows facing the street? It’s extremely unfriendly. It’s the opposite of what makes a great neighborhood.

I often wonder if most architects actually understand what makes nice + friendly neighborhoods. Do they teach subjects like that in architecture school? Do they even care?

All buildings have body language, and the body language of that house says “GO AWAY, I DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU OR THIS NEIGHBORHOOD!”

I love modern architecture, but stuff like this is one of the main reasons that mainstream society still refuses to adopt modernism. A large amount of modern architecture is very unfriendly, and it leads people to say “Oh, I don’t like modern architecture.” The tragedy is that modern architecture does not have to be unfriendly, it’s just that many architects have designed very unfriendly buildings. I think architects are huge supporters of modernism, but they often do more harm than good when it comes to the adoption of modernism.

Maybe Pb Elemental doesn’t deserve all the blame, perhaps it was the owner that prodded them to design a fortress fit for Afghanistan, but if I was an architect, I would do everything in my power to convince the client to think otherwise, and if that failed, I would just refuse the job, because I wouldn’t want to be associated with something that makes a neighborhood worse.

I’m sure it’s great inside, but from the street, that house makes that neighborhood worse, and it causes more people to build tacky McMansions because they fear modernism.

Comment by Dave

After that long rant, I should say that I think Pb Elemental did a nice job on the Corson Lofts.

Comment by Dave

Gaile – thanks for keeping a pulse on us. For those of you that don’t already have this on your radar, Gaile runs a very nice design blog at

Dave – thanks for getting some thoughts up. We want this blog to be a discussion of modern design and that includes accolades as well as criticisms. Dave is constantly updating a very thorough blog on Pacific NW regional architecture at

Comment by Andrew

There’s a quote above that describes the exterior of the Queen Anne Residence using the carefully chosen words “bold” and “strong street presence,” I say “carefully chosen” because those words could conveniently be considered positive characteristics depending on the context.

Someone else with less skill in spinning words towards the positive might have used the words withdrawn, standoffish, unapproachable, or anti-social. Thankfully though, this world is full of marketing and PR people to save us from making such unfortunately accurate statements. :)

Comment by Dave

They have been hiring recently:
if anyone is looking for a job switch.

Comment by gdesign

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Pingback by The Challenge of Multi-Family Housing « BUILD Blog

I like Pb’s work. The house boat on Fairview is great. The massive fortress-like walls of the Queen Anne home and other structures make me recall the homes I saw in Dehli and parts of urban Nepal…gated homes with massive walls designed to keep things within, and keep the outside world out…sorry, but does not fit with the environs these homes are sited in.

Comment by Scott

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