BUILD Blog


Better Know a Neighborhood: U-District & Ravenna
July 14, 2008, 11:10 am
Filed under: Architecture, BKaN, Seattle, Urban Architecture

The U-District and Ravenna are surprising neighborhoods. They are closer to downtown than you might think in both proximity and character, and while they don’t have an abundance of hot, modern design, they’ve got the stuff that makes for great neighborhoods. The U-District in particular has done an excellent job of adapting and evolving over time. Rather than tearing down older structures, the character of the area is retained as gas stations become breakfast joints, houses become kayak rental shops and high-tech restaurants are taken over by the UW architecture department.

The public transportation in both neighborhoods is excellent; metro delivers its passengers to downtown Seattle in 12 to 16 minutes, direct connection access to the Microsoft campus has been established, and the light rail line is planned to extend up through the area. The Burke-Gilman bike trail passes through the U-District and Ravenna maintains a number of great running/biking trails – in addition to being neighbors with Greenlake. The U-District and Ravenna seem to share the city amenities but retain the peace and quiet of its many parks. Here are some places you should know about:

The Henry Art Gallery gets a constant flow of good design related shows, also check out the James Turrell Skyspace.

University Farmers Market every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. This is the real deal – farmers only, no bead stands, antiques or tarot card readings.

Tenpachi Salon and Store at 5611 University Way NE -clean, modern cuts. Go to the full Tenpachi post here

[Photo by Aaron Leitz]

Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club at 1303 NE Boat St -Good Mexican food and kayak rentals on lake Union

Originally built as the “Man Bites Dog Restaurant” at University Way & 40th and designed by the Barnett Schorr Miller Company in 1978. The structure was deemed 1970’s high-tech design and expected to last no more than a decade. 30 years later it’s still there and has served a wide range of functions including a video arcade. Currently it’s owned by the UW school of architecture.

American Apparel at 4345 University Way NE -glass walls, clean lines and scantily clad models

The Deca Hotel and University Lounge at 4507 Brooklyn Ave by R.C. Reamer, 1931

The simple, rickety fruit stand at University Way NE & 65th actually has a modern look and feel of pure function -old school fruit and veggies is the new modern.

Stainless steel clad building at 6211 Roosevelt -home of TCA architects.

Corrugated steel clad building at Roosevelt Way NE & 63rd Str.

U-Bookstore at 4326 University Way NE

The Urban Outfitters shop 4518 University Way is a recent conversion of the old Tower Records space with cool corner windows.

The Whole Foods Roosevelt isn’t modern in aesthetics but the concept is forward thinking and it’s the hub the neighborhood – it’s where you see your neighbors. They offer a packed calendar of cooking classes as well.

3rd Place books and Honey Bear Bakery – books, pastries and coffee with that mom-&-pop shop feel

Pizza Brava at 4222 University Way NE, real neighborhoods have good pizza joints.

The U-District has been called a film goers paradise as the 6 theaters cover the range from blockbusters to independent films and everything in between.

Dwell Roosevelt modern condos at 1026 NE 65th

Nordheim Court modern apartments at 5000 25th Ave NE

The Park Modern at 5611 University Way NE -clean, modern city living, 2 flats left.  Read more about the Park modern here and here.

[Photo by Art Grice]

Herkimer Coffee Shop at 5611 University Way NE – good beans and a modern shop.

University Village

Apple Store at U-Village -ahh the beacon of modern design…

Blue C Sushi at U-Village

Crate & Barrel at U-Village -we’re not typically fans of big box chain stores but the building has some interesting massing and pleasing materials.

15th Ave Art Deco Bridge over Ravenna Park

Running trail through the lush forest of Ravenna Park.

Cowen Park provides wide open space for volley ball and baseball.

The University of Washington campus is filled with impressive pieces of architecture like the William H. Foege Building.

Physics Building by Cesar Pelli, 1994 – Check out the sundial and Foulcault Pendulum

Hidden in the trees along Rainier Vista on the UW campus is Winkenwerder Hall, a mid-century modern gem.

Paul Allen Computer Science Building

Faculty Center by Steinbrueck and Kirk, 1960 – one of the purist mid-century modern examples in Seattle.

McMahon Hall by Kirk, Wallace & McKinley, 1965

Photo of Tenpachi Salon by by Aaron Leitz, Photo of Park Modern by Art Grice
All other photos by BUILD llc



Better Know a Neighborhood – Georgetown, Seattle
May 5, 2008, 9:08 am
Filed under: Architecture, BKaN, Design, Industrial Architecture, Urban Architecture

If Georgetown is one thing- it’s cool, it’s so cool it doesn’t care what anybody thinks about it. Located approximately 3 miles south of downtown, Georgetown is Seattle’s Brooklyn. It’s got the proximity to keep urban but the distance to elude the touristimos. While compact, Georgetown has everything a Seattleite needs: cost-effective real estate, pizza, and good coffee.

The history of Georgetown is quite amazing, but this isn’t a history lesson – it’s a few tips to what’s hot and modern. Here’s what the BUILD field research team came up with:

Great Stuff is our new favorite furnishing shop in town. Owner Kirk Albert has created a brilliant and inspiring shop of restored and re-appropriated antique and mid-century modern objects. From sculpture to dynamic lighting to machines that hold flowers, Great Stuff has some of that fascinating urban grit that your pad needs.
Great Stuff, vintage furnishings, 5517 Airport Way S, 206.931.6208

All your caffeine needs can be taken care of at All City Coffee. The clean, open interiors are finished with mid-century modern fixtures and the place is filled with coolios – faces aglow at their laptops.
All City Coffee, 1205 South Vale

George can take care of your well appointed stationary needs and miscellaneous household/office items.
George, 5633 airport way south, 206.763.8100

A trip to Georgetown is not complete without paying homage to the Hat n’ Boots Gas Station. Built in 1955 at its original location of 6800 Corson Avenue S on the corner of E Marginal Way the station was closed in 1988 and later moved to Oxbow Park. Its current state shows off the incredible steel skeletal system of the 44 foot diameter cowboy hat, the 22 foot high cowboy boot bathrooms remain in good shape despite of bit of graffiti. More history on the Hat n’ Boots Gas Station can be found here.
Hat n’ Boots Gas Station, Oxbow Park, 6400 Corson Ave S


There are a couple of noteworthy residential projects in Georgetown worth taking a peek at:
6604 Corson Ave S Lofts by Pb Elemental

6708 Corson Ave S


A hot, modern line of scooters lines the curb outside of Big People Scooters.
Big People Scooters, 5951 Airport Way S, 206.763.0160


The Georgetown Brewing Company has been hard at work with their brews. Prized by Seattleites, they supply the city with Manny’s Pale Ale, Roger’s Pilsner, and the difficult to find Bob’s Brown Ale. Visiting the brewery allows some nice viewpoints of the surrounding brick industrial architecture as well.
Georgetown Brewing Company, 5840 Airport Way S, 206.766.8055


Although we didn’t make it here, the Georgetown Power Plant Museum seems like it would be well worth the time. As their website states: “The mission of the Georgetown Powerplant Museum is to preserve, maintain, and operate the Georgetown Steam Plant as a dynamic museum and teaching facility.” Which is great, cause we all like a bit of power once and a while.
Georgetown Power Plant Museum, 6605 13th Avenue S, 206.763.2542


Stellar Pizza sells by the slice
Stellar Pizza, 5513 AIRPORT WAY S, 206 763 1660


Quite possibly the hottest piece of modern design in the northwest is housed at Boeing field, just south of Georgetown. While technically the Museum of Flight resides in Tukwila, Georgetown makes for a convenient diving board – and let’s face it we’re not going to be covering the design scene of Tukwila anytime in the near future.

The Concorde Supersonic Transport is gorgeous, sleek and pure function. First flown commercially in 1976, it defined uber-chic travel for the next 27 years. Decommissioned in 2003 the Concord set the world speed record between New York and Seattle at 3 hours and 55 minutes.

Capable of 1,350 mph, or nearly twice the speed of sound, the Concorde now sits idle and can be toured in conjunction with admission to the Museum of Flight.

The Museum of Flight is well worth a tour for the design conscious – whether you’re an aviation geek or not you can’t help but respect a room full of objects designed to defy gravity.
The Museum of Flight, 9404 E Marginal Way S, 206.764.5720

Thanks to our buddy Josiah for the hot tips
[All photos and images by BUILD LLC]



Better know a neighborhood – Sandpoint, Seattle
February 25, 2008, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Architecture, BKaN, Seattle, Suburban Architecture

Title Sand Point

Officially, it’s labeled as View-Ridge on the map but everybody seems to call this little modern gem of a neighborhood Sand-Point. And rightly so – I mean, come-on every ridge has a view but not every point has sand (actually we’re not sure this point has sand either, but that’s our story and we’re sticking to it). Sand Point sits between 65th and 75th street to the north. 45th Ave NE provides an approximate western boundary and to the east it terminates at Magnuson Park and Lake Washington.

Map - Sand Point, Seattle

The neighborhood is a textbook example of mid-century modern architecture and landscaping. Many of the original mid-century homes and grounds have been immaculately maintained while newer work is discovering a zeitgeist of its own. A surprising number of new homes have an architectural vocabulary in common; simple massing, gently sloping shed roofs, and walls of glass. 60 years of well composed architecture along with a smashing view of Lake Washington and the Cascades make this neighborhood great for a walk on a clear day.

Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc

The low, horizontal roof massing almost disappears behind the well manicured landscaping.
Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc

Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc

Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc

Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc

Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc

Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc

Sand Point, Seattle houses, photo by BUILD llc
[Photos by BUILD llc]

View Ridge elementary at 7047 50th Ave NE – nice clean lines and walls of glassRidge View school, photo by BUILD llc
[Photo by BUILD llc]

Sand Point Community Church at 4710 NE 70th Street
Sand Point Community Church, Seattle, photo by BUILD llc
[Photo by BUILD llc]

Magnuson Park sits on the point aforementioned (which may or may not be made of sand). On a sunny day the park is a great escape from the city. The grounds were previously occupied as an airfield and a naval base, today it is shared between the city and NOAA. With an abundance of land and large empty buildings, Magnuson Park frequently hosts large scale art exhibits. The park is also home to a large bird habitat, the Fin-Art installation and the Sound-Garden.

Fin Art
Magnuson Park, Fin Art, Seattle, photo by BUILD llc
[Photo by BUILD llc]

Sound-garden
Sound Garden, Seattle



Better know a neighborhood – Wedgwood, Seattle

Map Seattle

Seattle’s got some great lesser-known neighborhoods dotted with modern gems. North-east of downtown and due east of Green Lake sits the quiet but pleasantly modern neighborhood of Wedgwood. While the residential neighborhood itself is comprised of a wide range of architectural styles 35th Ave N.E., the main street running north-south in Wedgwood, is a nice tour of mid-century modernism with some contemporary additions and updates thrown in for good measure.

Map Wedgwood, Seattle

Starting from NE 65th Str and heading north on 35th Ave NE you’ll first notice the University Unitarian Church by Paul Kirk, built in 1960 (6556 35th Ave NE)

University Unitarian Church by Paul Kirk
Photo by BUILD llc

University Unitarian Church by Paul Kirk
Photo by BUILD llc

The Theodora by Robert Chervenak & Associates, 1965(6559 35th)

The Theodora by Robert Chervenak, photo by BUILD llc
Photo by BUILD llc

Seattle Public Library – North East Branch by Paul Thiry, 1954 (6801 35th Ave N.E.) We missed this one in our post on Seattle’s Other Public Libraries.
Seattle Public Library by Paul Thiry, photo by BUILD llc
Photo by BUILD llc

You’ll also pass by the Medical Clinic by Gene Zema, 1961 (6850 35th Ave NE), although we didn’t get a shot of it.

Wedgwood even has a handsome mega-chain-coffee-shop. We recommend you make it a bit more difficult for the folks at Starbucks to take over the world and get your coffee at Top Pot.

Mega-chain-coffee-shop, photo by BUILD llc
Photo by BUILD llc

Reward yourself for a successful tour of modernism at the home of the Northwest’s favorite doughnuts: Top Pot Doughnuts at 6855 35th Ave NE
Top Pot Doughnuts, photo by BUILD llc
Photo by BUILD llc