Mid-Century Modern Remodel
January 16, 2009, 10:22 am
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC, Seattle, Suburban Architecture, Technical Posts


BUILD LLC recently completed the design and remodel of a mid-century modern home in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood and has some valuable information to share.   As with many of Seattle’s mid-century residences, this home was overdue for considerable updates.  The “bones” of these structures are typically very solid; the concrete and framing can be surgically retained and, oftentimes, featured for their richness and texture.  Efforts and funds can be directed toward reorganization of the space planning as well as the kitchen, bathrooms, cabinet package, surfaces and systems (heating, plumbing, electrical).

Mid-century modern plan Model (1)

As with any project, a great final outcome can be directly attributed to extraordinary clients.  This family understood the value of their mid-century modern home and put an importance on smarter space rather than more space.  The team was able to maintain the mid-century modern character of the home and, at the same time, fully renovate the home, site and pool for the current era and many years to come.

With several mid-century modern residences in our portfolio, we’ve developed some good strategies for cost-effective remodels and updates to these homes.  The cost of the house remodel was $150 per square foot including hard costs, tax and builder fees.  The technical information can be found below and a photo-montage video of the construction process can be found at the bottom of the post.


1. Existing light well upgraded with new roof and Milgard aluminum windows
2. Galvanized steel channel frame at chimney cap
3. New single-ply roof membrane over new rigid insulation
4. Existing brick stained deep caviar
5. Hardie-panel siding painted pewter
6. Existing brick planter boxes
7. Clear finished fir door with reeded glass panel
8. Milgard aluminum window package
9. Fleetwood aluminum sliding door package
10. Galvanized steel handrail verticals with Feeney Cable-Rail components and ipe top rail
11. Ipe decking and fascia
12. Stained clear cedar slats with vertical cedar posts (code required pool enclosure)
13. Open risers with precast concrete treads by Diamond Concrete Products


14. Raumplus sliding glass doors with laminated glass
15. Original T&G refinished decking, over original roof joists painted deep caviar
16. Original sandstone masonry left untreated
17. Eurotech Lighting ET-2 cylinder pendant lights
18. Custom steel firebox and hearth inserted into original fireplace
19. Original oak floor with new ebonized stain
20. Shoemaker AFP series aluminum floor register
21. Custom dining table with steel frame and anigre top by Special Projects Division
22. Honed Raven Caesarstone countertop and anigre cabinets by Special Projects Division
23. Kohler Ladena undermount porcelain sink with Whitehaus Luxe single hole faucet
24. Stainless steel backsplash
25. Solid core door with Omnia 025 passage lever
26. Fisher Paykel RF201ADUX stainless steel refrigerator
27. Porcher Newson Vitreous China 6’-0” freestanding tub
28. Fisher Paykel OS302 stainless steel wall oven
29. 12” x 18” Porcelain floor tile
30. Gaggenau AH 900-791extension hood
31. Miele KM3484 gas cooktop
32. Anigre custom cabinets with full length stainless steel pulls by Special Projects Division
33. “Floating” anigre shelf with integrated Seagull ‘puck’ lights, satin chrome finish.
34. Custom stainless steel countertop with orbital finish and integral sink, extended to exterior for bbq platform.

Photo-montage construction video

[All photos, images, videos, diagrams and drawings by BUILD llc]


The Modern List Seattle

In addition to a few recent projects here in Seattle, we’ve noticed that there are some great examples of architecture that have been around for decades and should be represented. Today’s post should bring you up to speed with the current work as well as some staples of Seattle design that we should all be familiar with. Many more on The Modern List Seattle… and as always, let us know what we missed.

Recently, the City of Seattle authorized the painting of repetitive geometrical patterns to the underside of some of the more oppressive I-5 underpasses. We got our own up here in Ravenna, and we have to admit that it makes the pedestrian experience much more pleasant. Coincidence that we named this location as one of the top candidates to turn into a legal graffiti park in an earlier post?
[Photo by BUILD LLC]

The geometrical frames also allow for some good impromptu Banksy like stenciling.
[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Four Seasons Hotel and ART restaurant, 99 Union St


[Photo courtesy of The Four Seasons]

Spring Hill Restaurant in West Seattle at 4437 California Ave SW, 206.935.1075 by Heliotrope Architects

[Photos courtesy of Spring Hill]

Remedy Teas on Capital Hill at 345 15th Avenue East, (206) 323-4832 by Adams Mohler Ghillino Architects
[Photo courtesy of Remedy Teas]

Queen Anne Residence on 8th Ave W by Eric Cobb


[Photos by BUILD LLC]

Queen Anne Residence by Olson Architects
[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Sea-Tac Airport Concourse A addition by NBBJ, landscape architect Robert Murase
[Photos by BUILD LLC]

4109 Lake Washington Blvd S. designed by Thomas Isarankura, developed and built by Ainslie-Davis Construction. The house is currently on the market and BUILD kicked the tires at the open house. We were very pleased with the overall design, detailing and amazing lot. Nice job to the develop/design/build team.
[Photo courtesy of Ainslie Davis Construction]

Seattle’s finally got itself a good place to buy European city bikes. Dutch Bike Co., 4421 Shilshole Ave NW, 206.789.1678

Molly Moon’s Ice Cream Shop, 1622 ½ N 45th St, Wallingford, 206.547.5105
[Photo by TinderBOX]

Trabant Coffee Shop downtown at 602 2nd Ave by Bo Hagood of Made LLC and Travis Latta of Lattaworks
[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Seattle Public Library Montlake Branch by Weinstein A|U
Weinstein AU- Montlake Library
[Photos courtesy of Weinstein A|U]

Bethany Community Church‎ at 8023 Green Lake Dr N by Miller|Hull

[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Fremont Peak Park is one of the best little secrets of the city. Located in Fremont near the zoo at 4357 Palatine Ave. N, by Haddad-Drugan. Read about the complicated process to get it realized here.
[Photos courtesy of Haddad-Drugan]

Novelty Hill Januik Winery at 14710 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE by Mithun


[Photos courtesy of Mithun]

Seattle’s starting to feel a little more big city with the push for better transportation and real transportation maps (inspired by the New York Subway system maps).
thanks to Gavin for the tip
[Image courtesy of Puget Sound Rail]

Pifer House, 1217 Willard Ave W at Parsons Gardens by Ralph Anderson, 1970
[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Marine Sciences Building on the UW campus by Liddle & Jones, landscape by Richard Haag, 1967
[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Nuclear Reactor Building on the UW campus by The Architect Artist Group (Lovett, Streissguth, Zema, Torrence), 1960. The building was recently added to the state list of historic buildings, read more about it here.
[Photo by BUILD LLC]



In our ongoing Google Earth series the Borderscapes theme covers some fascinating interfaces between built-form and nature.  The plan view images of earth, captured from space, are becoming increasing indicative of how human-made landscapes are integrating (or not integrating) with natural contexts.  The images, while only a snapshot of each occurrence, also begin to convey whether the development strategies are mindful or viral.

Farms in the United Arab Emerites at 10.5 miles

Battleship Graveyard in Benicia, CA at 6,000 ft

Jetties in San Lucido, Italy at 3,500 ft

Crater in San Salvador, Paraguay at 2,000 ft

Central Park in Manhattan at 1,500 ft

Florida Keys at 1,500 ft

Suburb in Muscoy, CA at 1,500 ft

Suburb in Palm Springs, CA at 1,500 ft

Suburbs in Salt Lake City, UT at 1,500 ft

Suburb in San Jose, CA at 1,500 ft

Umm-Durrman, Sudan at 1,500 ft

Windfarm in Copenhagen, Denmark at 1,500 ft

Swimming pool in Colares, Portugal at 400 ft

Leca swimming pools by Alvaro Siza in Portugal at 250 ft

Google Earth is now available for the iPhone – check it out here or app it on your iPhone.

The Work of Gert Wingårdh
November 10, 2008, 12:30 am
Filed under: Architecture, Rural Architecture, Suburban Architecture, Travel

While traveling through Scandinavia last summer we came across the work of Gert Wingårdh.  We’re ashamed to admit it but, up until that point, we were not familiar with his work.  His show at the Swedish Museum of Architecture in Stockholm thoroughly reviewed a handful of his projects, both built and proposed.  Three of these projects struck us as not only significant, but critical works of architecture.  The works embody an elegant balance between poetic concept and a plainness of form.

The exhibit was accompanied by a small book titled “Eleven Houses, Reflexions over the Architecture”.  The explanations of each project are written like poems – the text below are excerpts from these poems.

Glaskasten Skulpture Museum, Marl Germany, 2005
By Gert Wingardh with Lars Bergström

Magnificent trees grow in the grounds
Some have to be felled to make room for the building
[the sculptor Lars Bergström] creates silicone shapes over these very trees
and allows their features to emerge as negative death masks
The memory of the trees appears as photorealistic,
Three dimensional cavities in the now extremely thick concrete wall


[Drawings courtesy of Gert Wingardh, Eleven Houses, Reflections over the Architecture]


Housing at Arabia Beach, Helsinki Finland, 2005

Pretensions, but also sadness
Tall, but stocky
A real person,
with crooked, bent hands

Architecture can also be such a person
When the objective is not to find the ideal form,
but rather the limit of a person
architecture becomes more tolerant
of deviations in both color and form

[Drawings courtesy of Gert Wingardh, Eleven Houses, Reflections over the Architecture]



Oijared Country Club & Golf Club, Lerum Sweden, 1986

We build
a simple concrete house
beside a hill
shovel earth over it
and sow grass

Easy and inexpensive

The first tee from the roof

Of course

[Drawings courtesy of Gert Wingardh, Eleven Houses, Reflections over the Architecture]






There is something about these projects that we can’t quite put our thumb on.  They are each rather ordinary – one might overlook the significance of the inset tree sculptures on the Glaskasten Museum; the Oijared Country Club isn’t even visible from most perspectives on the surrounding golf course; the untrained eye could drive right past the housing at Arabia Beach and not think twice.  But as understated as these projects are, they are also careful, thoughtful and sensible projects.  They are deliberate works of a master architect.

We’re proposing that the reason these projects are so extraordinary is precisely this quality of being ordinary.  The lack of design-hype.  These projects don’t have a theme that hits you in the face, no marketing package, no buzz, no sound-bite, hell 2 out of 3 don’t even have websites.  These projects don’t subscribe to any sort of architecture movement, they’re not plastered all over the cover of design magazines, they don’t tout their “green-ess” .  They just are.

AIA Seattle: 2008 Honor Award Winners for Washington Architecture


AIA Seattle hosted the 2008 Honor Awards for Washington Architecture on Monday, November 3rd in Seattle. This years theme was “Perform Transform -recognizing the challenges and opportunities inherent in our work as this new century unfolds.  Our work must perform technically, aesthetically and humanistically.  Our practice must transform itself in response.”  BUILD was in attendance and we took thorough notes for those of you who couldn’t make it. The jury was as follows:

Moderator: Susan Szenasy (SS), Editor in Chief Metropolis Magazine, New York, NY
Patricia Patkau (PP), of Patkau Architects, Vancouver, B.C.
Nader Tehrani (NT), of Office dA, Boston, MA
David Baker (DB), of David Baker + Partners, San Francisco, CA

The ceremony started off with an interpretive dance which was a new twist – although beautifully done, do we really need to make this thing any more esoteric than it already is?  But, just when team BUILD thought the ceremony was going down in flames, the jury stepped in and provided a thought provoking, down-to-earth discussion and selected some projects that we are big fans of.  Enjoy…



Vo Shed by Atelier Jones
PP: The small shed which recycles vegetables brings about invention and delight
NT: Diminutive in scale it acts like a folly
SS: The jury was hoping for more of this type of work


Bumper Crop by The Miller Hull Partnership
DB: We take for granted that the suburban landscape can be transformed, this project is a re-colonization of the parking lot.
PP: This project isn’t conceptual enough




Banner Gateway Medical Center by NBBJ
DB: The architecture speaks to how the patient is treated, it humanizes the experience
NT: The project reinvigorates the entire medical facility
PP: Breaking down the hospital into smaller chunks is better for the architecture and medical practice


The Terry Thomas by Weber Thompson Architects
NT: The ephemerality of the interior and quality of the space makes it a wonderful environment to be in.  Unfortunately the same level of sophistication was not matched on the outside of the building.
PP: The courtyard makes for a greater sense of community and the interior provides a value of the work environment.
DB: The systems were well integrated


56 Piles by E. Cobb Architects
PP: The project presents spatial organization as a future tool for architecture.  The overall composition rethinks the singular space.


Agnes Lofts by Weinstein A|U
NT: It’s rare to see a project like this with such a sense of reduction, the project is really about taking away, erasing.
DB: The building adopts key views and activates the ground.



Kitsap County Administration Building by The Miller Hull Partnership
DB: It is rare to do something of this level in a city this small
PP: There were no plan drawings turned in with this entry – plans should always be included.


Envelope House by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
NT: The problem of the site is engaging like a puzzle piece, while compact that project extrudes out bays and rooms
DB: The project is sustainable because of its density


Gym by E. Cobb Architects
PP: The spaces are nestled in intelligent ways.  The inventive compaction is offset by loose fabrication.  The space divides and also reinterprets the historic architecture.


Noah’s Ark by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen
PP: Animals made out of recycled materials.


EX3 Ron Sandwith Teen Center by Weinstein A|U
PP: The warehouse construction has a quality of ephemeral light.


Seattle Public Library Montlake Branch by Weinstein A|U
NT: There is a strong relationship between the whole and the parts, and between the inside and the outside.  The building doesn’t over scale the neighborhood.  The downspouts gotta go.
Weinstein AU- Montlake Library


Woodway Residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
DB: The project is a good example of sustainability by reusing a 1960’s case study house.
PP: A good exploration of possibilities and investment.


7 by Hutchinson & Maul
PP: The project is abstract but deeply embedded in place.
NT: There was something about the project that was unnamable.


In conclusion:
The jury mentioned that the notion of bottom up sustainable design is very relevant and that inventing new categories for sustainable design will be increasingly important.  All the 2008 honor award entries can be viewed here.

A huge thanks to the 2008 AIA Honor Awards Committee Members that must have worked their tails off to make all this happen.

Throw down a comment and let us know what you think…

Hot Shots of the Northwest

Recently the AIA Seattle hosted an exhibit titled NEW EDGE |NEW BLOOD which introduced several up and coming young architecture firms in the northwest.  It was a significant show and the work on the walls was worth taking note of.  Today’s post takes a look at a number of these firms; get familiar with these groups – they are the future of architecture in the northwest.

PIQUE LLC 206.328.4423, 10453 66th Ave S, Seattle
There is an exhilarating language being created by the design team at Pique.  The separation of volumes, intricate massing and relationship among a variety of materials holds your full attention; at the same time the architecture peacefully fits into the context of Oregon’s dry ranchlands to the east.  The work seems to belong right where it’s at, a quality highly sought after by most homeowners and architects.

Garren Residence in Bend, OR

Pb Elemental 206.285.1464, 1916 23rd Ave S, Seattle
The hard working Rock-Stars over at Pb Elemental continue to produce work that is drammatic in form and engaging in function.  As developers, architects and builders they are blazing the trail for a new model of design-build in the northwest.  A tour of their website shows that they are up to a staggering amount of work in and around Seattle.  With projects ranging from single family to multi-family, live-work and commercial, these guys are bringing modernism to the people.

23rd Ave Live-Work

Crockett Residence

chadbourne + doss 206.860.1975, 1469 22nd Ave, Seattle
The firm is finding a handsome balance between modern design orchestrated within existing, older surroundings.  Carefully inserting sleek modern forms into antiquated structures requires a great amount of discipline and these guys are becoming masters at it.  As empty lots become increasingly scarce in the Northwest this philosophy of inserting new functions into existing spaces is not only becoming important, it’s becoming necessary.

Lobster Boat Residence in Seattle, WA

Writable Offices in Seattle, WA

Netshed Wetroom in Astoria, OR

Graham Baba Architects 206.323.9932, 1st Ave, Seattle
Their work sparks curiosity; the attention given to details and the intentional relationships between different materials creates a wonderful experience of space and form.  These are architects that understand the trades – they know what can and cannot be done with steel, glass and wood.  Their Osteria La Spiga Restaurant on Capitol Hill is a great excuse to kick the tires on some nice architecture and have some good eats.  In addition to their built work they’ve got some significant projects in development.

Beck House in Seattle, WA

Osteria La Spiga in Seattle, WA

Heliotrope Architects 5140 Ballard Ave NW Suite B, Seattle
The look of the architecture they are crafting has a sophistication rarely seen in the northwest.  As Seattle continues to climb the design savvy scale, Heliotrope will be among those leading the charge.  Stairs are among the toughest challenge for architects and these guys knock the ball out of the park with their stair designs.  Pay a visit to Alchemy Collections at 2029 2nd Ave.

Palm Desert Residence in California

Alchemy Collections

Workshop A|D 206.903.5414, 911 Western Ave, Suite 215, Seattle
In addition to a portfolio of gorgeous work, these guys win best website award out of the bunch.  Architects take note – viewers like to see big, beautiful images on your websites.  What strikes us most about the work is a sense of refined discipline.  Everything seems to have a reason for being – each jog, each material change; all carried out with elegance.  The delicate, warm interiors are balanced out with more durable, sensible exterior shells.

Nearpoint Residence in Anchorage, AK

Road D Shelter on Table Mountain, WA

Zero Plus 206.323.4009 1321 E Pine, Seattle
Rich in form and cerebral in process the work of Zero Plus is experimental and pushes northwest design into new ground.  Each project seems to stem from significant ideas and the finished forms benefit from the serendipity of process.  Delicate and intricate the work retains a sense of structural rigor.  Conscious moves to expose the nuts and bolts of the architecture allows the viewer to follow the story of each project.

Zero Plus Architects Office

Snee-oosh near Deception Pass, WA

Thanks to Ed Weinstein, Eric Cobb, Carrie Schilling and David Spiker for curating the New Edge | New Blood exhibit and bringing these firms to our attention.

Models for Low-Rise Multi-Family Housing: Europe

Not too long ago we threw a few tomatoes at the townhouse model that has proliferated in the northwest.  It felt good to get a few things off our chest, and after any good rant we felt compelled to get back in the game, scratch our heads a bit and figure out how to get the ship back on course.  As a first step we’re assembling a list of good examples for low-rise multi-family housing projects.  Our buddy Mike, BUILDblog fan and frequent commenter, took the ball and ran with it – he came up with today’s roster which covers some great examples of low-rise, multi-family housing in Europe.  Thanks for the hard work Mike.  We’ll follow up in a few days with a U.S. version that brings it all back home.

Carabanchel Housing by FOA in Madrid, Spain

[photo by Francisco Andeyro Garcia & Alehjandro Garcia Gonazalez, Sergio Padura]

Koenigsweg Atelierhaus by Becher Rottkamp in Berlin

[photo courtesy of Becher Rottkamp]

Lansdowne Apartments by John Pawson in the United Kingdom

[photo courtesy of John Pawson]

Neudorfstraße Oelzbuendt Dornbirn by Hermann Kaufmann in Germany

[photo courtesy of Hermann Kaufmann]

Ölzbündt Dornbirn by Hermann Kaufmann in Germany

[photo courtesy of Hermann Kaufmann]

Peabody Housing by Niall Mclaughlin in London

[photo courtesy of Niall Mclaughlin]

Schots 1&2, by s333 in Groningen, Netherlands

[photo courtesy of S333]

Seewurfel Residential Complex by Camenzind Evolution in Switzerland

[photo courtesy of Camenzind Evolution]

Temistocles 12 by JSa in Polanco, Spain

[photo by Paul Rivera & Mariana Ugalde]

Tietgen Kollegiet by Lundgaard and Tranberg in Denmark

[photo courtesy of]

VM House by BIG in Copenhagen

[photo courtesy of BIG)

Wohnhaus Kaiserstrasse by Gerner Gerner Plus

[photo by Manfred Seidel)

Wimbergergasse Town Houses by Delugan & Meissl

[photo courtesy of Delugan & Meissl)

Wohnanlage Muehlweg by Hermann Kaufman

[photo courtesy of Hermann Kaufmann)

Lohbach by Baumshlager & Eberle in  Innsbruck, Austria

[photo courtesy of