Models for Low-Rise Multi-Family Housing: U.S.
October 21, 2008, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Seattle, Urban Architecture

As part 2 of the low-rise multi-family series, and in response to our Urban Blight post, we want to bring the discussion back to the United States and more specifically the Pacific Northwest.  Today’s post covers several projects which provide good models for housing in and around Seattle.  Most architects and designers are painfully aware that the typical townhouse model isn’t working.  Part of the solution, as we see it, is getting extraordinary projects on the radar of the general public and raising the standards of low-rise, multi-family housing.  Let us know if our list is missing anything…

The Fremont Lofts by Johnston Architects in Seattle, WA

[photo courtesy of Johnston Architects)

The Boulders at Green Lake by Johnston Architects in Seattle, WA

[photo courtesy of Johnston Architects)

Nicholas Court Townhouse by Walker Architecture/Gordon Walker + Colin Walker in Seattle, WA

[photo by Gary Sutto)

Urbansight 19 by b9 Architects in Seattle, WA

[photo courtesy of b9 Architects)

14th Ave Homes by PB Elemental in Seattle, WA

[photo courtesy of PB Elemental]

Park Modern by BUILD LLC in Seattle, WA

[photo by Art Grice]

1310 Condominiums by Brett Crawford in Portland Oregon

[photos courtesy of]

Viewpoint Rowhomes by Opsis Architecture in Portland, OR

[photos courtesy of Opsis Architecture]

Belmont Street Lofts by Holst Architecture in Portland, OR

[photos courtesy of Holst Architecture]

1234 Howard Street by Stanley Saitowitz|Natoma Architects Inc. in San Francisco, CA

[photos courtesy of Saitowitz|Natoma Architects Inc.]

Habitat 825 by LoHa in West Hollywood, CA

[photo courtesy of LoHa]

Essex Lofts by Ted Smith & Lloyd Russell in San Diego, CA

[photo by Jimmy Fluker]

Lind by Ted Smith in San Diego, CA

[photo by Joseph Valerio]

Merimac by Ted Smith & Lloyd Russell in San Diego, CA

[photo by Todd Hido]

The Shade House Condos by Matt & Tina Ford in Houston, TX

[photo by Jack Thompson]

Art House Townhouses by Studio Completiva in Denver, CO

[photo courtesy of]

2154/2157 West Division by Studio Dwell Architects in Chicago, IL

[photos courtesy of Ranquist Development]

Eflats by Onion Flats in Philadelphia

[photo courtesy of Onion Flats]


8 Comments so far
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More info on the 1310 Condo project can be found here:


Comment by John

A lot of Jonathon Segal’s work is nice and fits this category, especially “The Union” project:

Comment by Jim

Great post! Lind (in San Diego) was done by Kathleen McCormick, Ted Smith’s partner. Some other good ones there are the “R3” building by Lloyd Russell, which was designed to be adaptable to 4 units; and The Billboard Lofts by Sebastian Mariscal. Also Jonathan Segal’s “Union” and “K lofts”.

Comment by Nick

First off, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog. Being a graduate in the process of transitioning from head-in-the-clouds theory to practicle application of good design, it is good to see blogs like this one communicating the benefits of design to the larger public. However, I wonder if your blog would benefit from a little more analysis of the projects posted rather than taking the magazine route and posting a nice picture? The posts I find the most engaging are where you educate the reader on the topic rather than just skimming the surface (see posts – rethinking construction documents, rainscreens, etc.). I understand that to provide some sort of analysis for each project would consume a large amount of your time and you have much better things to do – like focusing energy on your own projects, but even if a couple projects were looked at more closely and then a list of other notable projects were provide I think it would allow the reader to take more away from these types of posts – especially when they may not be in the area to do site visits. Anyways, sorry for the long comment, overall I love your blog! Keep up the good work!

Comment by Ryan

Ryan- I, like you, very much appreciate the blog these guys put out. I’ve noticed other readers take it upon themselves to add the features to the posts they like. I really like your idea and wonder if you’d be willing to send BUILD the stuff you have in mind so they could post it.

Comment by Samuel

Ryan – that’s some very good feedback for us. More in-depth posts might be our niche as there are already several extremely well done magazine type blogs. The work-life-blog balance is, indeed, a tough one and the analysis posts tend to become little thesis projects. But your point is well taken.

Comment by buildllc

Samuel – It is not that I had one specfic thing in mind, it was more of a general comment on the content and approach of the blog and how it may develop in the future.

Andrew – Thanks for your comments. Since developing in-depth posts would be very time-consuming, maybe you have just created an opening for the 5th memeber of your team – part-time blog administrator? Could you imagine how much a young intern architect or student would learn analyzing and communicating notable projects and construction systems alongside the Buildllc team?! I would jump all over that opportunity if I was still in school.

Comment by Ryan

Ryan – I’m picking up what you’re laying down…

Comment by buildllc

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