The Park Modern Turns 10


[Photo by BUILD LLC] The University District’s mixed-use Park Modern building recently turned ten years old and the project offers a wealth of knowledge in Seattle’s current real estate market. Having weathered a decade’s worth of gray winters, a great recession, and the daily wear and tear of an urban environment, it’s an appropriate time for a performance review. The Seattle building’s footprint was configured to optimize the small 7,500sf site, an area equivalent to 1.5 single family home sites. Two small, adjacent parcels had been purchased and combined, which allowed the project to have critical mass in scale as well as enough value for construction financing. Although a project of smaller margins, this type of bootstrapping may be even more relevant with today’s challenges of creating affordable housing using modestly scaled infill projects. As available City lots are becoming scarce, while the city’s population continues to grow, the
Continue reading "The Park Modern Turns 10"

Open Letter to the Mayor

Dear Mayor Durkan, We welcome you to office and admire your direct and candid comments regarding the issues of affordable housing and homelessness shared during your campaign. Your initiatives reflect the concerns of the community at large and your position resonates with many in the community. As you are transitioning from advocate/ candidate, to head of a Seattle in need of steady leadership, all while balancing many voices and agendas, we want to provide you with the collective information that we think will aid your success as mayor of Seattle. You and your opponent spent much of your respective campaigns discussing our current population growth and impacts on our city as well as potential policy changes in Urban Design and building development for Seattle. We have been engaged in this conversation professionally and personally for some time. We’ve taken the opportunity to first get facts and figures straight regarding Seattle’s
Continue reading "Open Letter to the Mayor"

Architectural Origins, Educations and Risks; A Conversation with Steven Holl and Ed Weinstein, Part 2


[Steven Holl and Ed Weinstein, photo by BUILD LLC] Last summer, BUILD sat down with Steven Holl and Ed Weinstein in Seattle’s Pike Place Market to discuss their humble beginnings, their common educational paths, and the life experiences that produced two distinctively successful architecture practices. For part 1 of the conversation, hop over to ARCADE Magazine, Issue 35.3, available in print and on their website. You’ve both been described as individuals who completely dedicated themselves to the practice of architecture. What has this entailed in your own lives?
Steven Holl: I think for me, architecture was the right thing to do. It’s something you believe in. I never had a doubt. I wasn’t going to do commercial work, but there were doubts I could survive and that’s why teaching was important. Then my firm won some competitions, like the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki in 1993, which
Continue reading "Architectural Origins, Educations and Risks; A Conversation with Steven Holl and Ed Weinstein, Part 2"

Curbless Shower Guide


[Photo by BUILD LLC] Kicking off the first post for the new year, we’re diving right into a technical post with our BUILD Manual series. For this fourth edition, we’re covering our curbless shower detail. We’ve fine-tuned this detail over many years, and we’ve implemented it regularly with great results, so it was time to create its own guide. The seamless floor transition from the bathroom to shower area creates a clean-lined aesthetic that looks great and functions well. The removal of the curb allows for ease of entry into the shower area and makes cleaning the floor straightforward. Our detail guide shows how we put this together, both for a framed floor and a slab on grade application. For more coverage on the curbless shower, check out our previous post on the subject.
[Click for downloadable image] Check out our previous BUILD Guides, and stay tuned for the next
Continue reading "Curbless Shower Guide"

Curbless Shower Guide


[Photo by BUILD LLC] Kicking off the first post for the new year, we’re diving right into a technical post with our BUILD Manual series. For this fourth edition, we’re covering our curbless shower detail. We’ve fine-tuned this detail over many years, and we’ve implemented it regularly with great results, so it was time to create its own guide. The seamless floor transition from the bathroom to shower area creates a clean-lined aesthetic that looks great and functions well. The removal of the curb allows for ease of entry into the shower area and makes cleaning the floor straightforward. Our detail guide shows how we put this together, both for a framed floor and a slab on grade application. For more coverage on the curbless shower, check out our previous post on the subject.
[Click for downloadable image] Check out our previous BUILD Guides, and stay tuned for the next
Continue reading "Curbless Shower Guide"

Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Encouraging better development


[Image by BUILD LLC] Seattle is currently experiencing unprecedented population growth along with record setting development. This is challenging the city’s growth management and it’s bringing city zoning and building code decisions to the forefront of the discussion. As architects and Seattleites deeply concerned with the quality of life and well-being of the communities around us, we’ve been thinking a great deal about the codes and policies that regulate our built environment (or in some instances, don’t it regulate properly). It’s a critical moment in Seattle, and calibrating the city’s policies correctly could result in vibrant neighborhoods that support diversity, inclusion, and quality of life. Conversely, making uninformed decisions or failing to make decisions altogether won’t just result in urban paralysis, it will bleed Seattle of its character and quality of life. In 2014, Seattle launched the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) which gathered the collective research and wisdom
Continue reading "Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Encouraging better development"

Header Alignment Guide


[All images by BUILD LLC] The alignment of windows, doors and siding breaks at the exterior of a residence or building is a subtle detail that brings harmony and an intention to a project. It’s an indicator of a careful design process and a mindful construction sequence. But when alignment doesn’t occur between exterior features, the composition can be a significant distraction from an otherwise congruent building envelope. The most challenging of these to accomplish is maintaining a clean horizontal line around a structure above doors and windows at the siding break. Because each door and window system has its own logic and assembly, much of the design exercise deals with finding a common denominator between the different systems and the siding. The top of a window flange, for instance, attaches straight to the framing, while some sliding door systems require a significant space between the door track head and
Continue reading "Header Alignment Guide"

Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Getting the Facts Straight

There’s a heightened discussion in Seattle lately around the overwhelming population growth the city is facing, along with the increasing demand of the housing necessary to accommodate everyone. The topic of housing (or lack thereof) has become a critical platform for the politicians, a code-red concern for neighborhoods and, if you’re in the design world, it’s the primary topic of discussion at most professional gatherings. The tension on the subject of housing right now in Seattle has reached its boiling point and BUILD will be launching a series of blog posts on the topic to help clarify the issues, give voice to good solutions, and better educate ourselves and our community on the situation. One noticeable aspect that’s confusing the conversation around Seattle’s housing crisis is the lack of consistent information. It seems that every time we get into a discussion about population growth in Seattle, different statistics are declared
Continue reading "Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Getting the Facts Straight"

Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Getting the Facts Straight

There’s a heightened discussion in Seattle lately around the overwhelming population growth the city is facing, along with the increasing demand of the housing necessary to accommodate everyone. The topic of housing (or lack thereof) has become a critical platform for the politicians, a code-red concern for neighborhoods and, if you’re in the design world, it’s the primary topic of discussion at most professional gatherings. The tension on the subject of housing right now in Seattle has reached its boiling point and BUILD will be launching a series of blog posts on the topic to help clarify the issues, give voice to good solutions, and better educate ourselves and our community on the situation. One noticeable aspect that’s confusing the conversation around Seattle’s housing crisis is the lack of consistent information. It seems that every time we get into a discussion about population growth in Seattle, different statistics are declared
Continue reading "Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Getting the Facts Straight"

S2V 2017


[From left to right: Todd Plaunt, Andrew van Leeuwen, Pete Nelson, Michael Smith, Mark Carson, Brian Boram, Kevin Eckert, Albert Shum, Jeff Johnson, Peter Gray, Aaron Pambianco, Paul Jaqua, Chris Mears, Blair Casey, Brandon Boudreaux, Greg Plaunt, Bill Weigand] Something remarkable happened this last summer. Each year, at the end of August, we round up our comrades and ride for two days from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a chance to close our laptops, get some serious fitness, and spend time with an exceptional crew of individuals, all while enjoying the spectacle of summer in the Pacific Northwest. Like every year, we carefully chose a compelling non-profit organization to direct our contributions to, and, like every year, we called on our community to contribute to that organization. This year we made an especially unreasonable financial goal, doubling our initial pledge, and asked our community to dig deep and give
Continue reading "S2V 2017"

Time, Place and Culture: An Interview with Dean Sakamoto on the Work of Vladimir Ossipoff, part 2


[University of Hawaii, photo by Victoria Sambunaris] Last winter, BUILD met with architect Dean Sakamoto on Oahu to talk about the late Hawaiian modernist architect Vladimir Ossipoff (1907-1998). Sakamoto operates an architecture practice in Honolulu and guest curated the 2007–2008 exhibit Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Sakamoto is widely recognized as the world’s leading expert on Ossipoff, known as the master of Hawaiian architecture within the postwar phenomenon of tropical modernism. We talked about the challenges of getting to know Ossipoff’s work, the architect’s life, and his design response to the Hawaiian environment. Check out part 1 of the interview in ARCADE Magazine, Issue 35.2, available in print and on their website. Why did it take an outsider like Vladimir Ossipoff to provide Hawaii with a timeless modernism?
Hawaii was a very isolated place then and he always saw himself
Continue reading "Time, Place and Culture: An Interview with Dean Sakamoto on the Work of Vladimir Ossipoff, part 2"

Flush Base Guide


[Photo by BUILD LLC] Our second edition of the BUILD Manual covers an interior flush base design that we’ve been refining for years, and we’re at a good point to share the detail along with the relevant technicalities and construction methods. The minimal aesthetic and durability have made it a favorite detail at BUILD, and we design it into most of our residential projects. It also integrates nicely with windows, doors, and cabinetry. While it’s a bit more intricate than an applied base, we’ve found that once the trades are trained on the detail, it’s a straightforward and reliable application. We’ve covered the various transitions using the flush base detail here and here.
[Click for downloadable jpeg] Stay tuned for additional BUILD Guides which cover the design and construction details of modern architecture, and cheers from team BUILD.

A Decade of the BUILD Blog


[Image by BUILD LLC] This post marks the 10 year anniversary of the BUILD Blog. A decade ago this exact week, we launched our very first post. By the end of the month, we’d posted our first of many essays, revealing the heart behind why we started blogging in the first place. Over the past 10 years, the blog has gone through several evolutions. We’ve redesigned it, refocused it, removed the comments section, etc. It’s an ever-evolving endeavor. The blog has served as a space for conversation, sharing, community, information, and humor. And ultimately, we’ve found its highest usefulness comes directly by sharing not just what we’re doing, but how we are accomplishing things.
[BUILD Blog 2007-2009, 2009-2012, 2012-present] Now, approaching this significant milestone in the BUILD Blog’s history, our mission statement we shared five years ago remains as true now as then: make architecture accessible, create a culture of
Continue reading "A Decade of the BUILD Blog"

The Modern List Portland

[Image credit: Dezeen] Though close in proximity to Seattle, Portland has an entirely unique and different feel, making it the perfect location for a weekend getaway (whether you’re heading south from Seattle or elsewhere). As always, Portland’s interest in craft provides innovative restaurants, cafes, hotels and museums with each new visit. Whether it be the hospitality of a warm atmosphere and public coffee brewing demonstrations at Coava, or insight into Japanese garden culture and architecture at the newly renovated Portland Japanese Gardens, the extra care put into the craft of each cultural element is entirely evident. Here’s our 2017 roundup of Portland’s newest and greatest modern gems. COFFEE
 Coava Coffee / @coavacoffee1300 SE G Ave. (A), (503) 894-8134
[Image Credit: Coava Coffee]  Upper Left Roasters / @upperleftroasters, 1204 SE Clay St.(503) 477-8469

[Image Credit: Upper Left Roasters] BRUNCH | LUNCH
 Tusk /
Continue reading "The Modern List Portland"

Case Study 2017 Stairs


[All images by BUILD LLC] BUILD recently completed the CSH2017 in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. It’s the latest in the Case Study House series and, like the others, it improves on the model, tweaks some design components, and experiments with others. The grade sits a full 14 feet above the street, while the hillside slopes parallel to the street. In order to produce an efficient and usable residence, the design process focused heavily on the stair design strategy, both inside and out. Today’s post reviews the vertical circulation of the structure from bottom to top. In order to navigate from the sidewalk to the front door, two types of stairs were implemented. A cast-in-place, concrete slab on grade stair ascends to the top of the hill and is lit at every fourth step by a recessed tread mount exterior grade light by Vista. Because the height between the top
Continue reading "Case Study 2017 Stairs"

Case Study 2017 Stairs


[All images by BUILD LLC] BUILD recently completed the CSH2017 in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. It’s the latest in the Case Study House series and, like the others, it improves on the model, tweaks some design components, and experiments with others. The grade sits a full 14 feet above the street, while the hillside slopes parallel to the street. In order to produce an efficient and usable residence, the design process focused heavily on the stair design strategy, both inside and out. Today’s post reviews the vertical circulation of the structure from bottom to top. In order to navigate from the sidewalk to the front door, two types of stairs were implemented. A cast-in-place, concrete slab on grade stair ascends to the top of the hill and is lit at every fourth step by a recessed tread mount exterior grade light by Vista. Because the height between the top
Continue reading "Case Study 2017 Stairs"

Case Study House 2016 Exterior


[Images by BUILD LLC unless noted otherwise] With summer having arrived in the Pacific Northwest and the vegetation in full bloom, it’s an excellent time to review the Case Study House 2016 exterior design. Today’s post covers the envelope of the residence as well as the landscape and hardscape. An in-depth look at the CSH2016 interior package along with specifications and materials can be found here. Like other examples in the BUILD Case Study House series, the CSH2016 is an exercise in simplicity. The design is pared down to its essence without removing poetry. Conceptually, the structure is comprised of three volumes, which fit together like a Japanese puzzle box. The largest volume is wrapped with a Pure White Oculus Aluminum Composite rainscreen system. The volume at the southeast corner is sided with horizontal T&G 1×4 clear vertical cedar with a light gray stain (Daly’s #70022) which wraps
Continue reading "Case Study House 2016 Exterior"

Advanced Rainscreen Envelope Detailing


[All images by BUILD LLC] There are a number of rainscreen details that team BUILD has been fine-tuning and implementing and the recently completed Pham Residence in Bellevue, Washington is an excellent project to review the latest application. Because the structure is a simple box, there was more reliance on the rainscreen to develop massing, depth and articulation (more information about the genesis of the design can be found here). While the structural systems of the residence (the shearwalls and bearing walls) remain in a single vertical plane along the east elevation, it was important that the envelope show a change in both plane and material. This strategy relies on both a deep and a shallow rainscreen system, where each depth is developed via the thickness of the vertical battens separating the rainscreen from the water resistant barrier. In the case of the Pham Residence, the rainscreen is either Oculus aluminum
Continue reading "Advanced Rainscreen Envelope Detailing"

The Modern List Seattle


[Original Photo by Alex Garland for Capitol Hill Seattle] Each year, we publish our top picks for the latest places to eat and visit for the design-minded resident or visitor to our fine city. Now with the first of the summer holidays behind us, our city is in full tourist season mode, just in time to release our 11th edition of TML Seattle. COFFEE
Honor Society Coffee / @honorsocietycoffee, 1531 Melrose Ave, 206.859.7554

[Image Credit: Honor Society Coffee]  Union Coffee / @unioncoffeeseattle, 2407 Union Street B, 206.577.7953

[Image Credit: Union Coffee Seattle]  Moonshot Coffee / @moonshotcoffee, 9622 16th Ave SW

[Image Credit: Moonshot Coffee]  Royal Drummer Cafe / @royaldrummer, 6420 24th Ave NW, 206.420.7723

[Image Credit: Anna Brones for Sprudge] BRUNCH | LUNCH
Mr. West Cafe Bar / @mrwestdrinks,
Continue reading "The Modern List Seattle"

The Modern List Seattle


[Original Photo by Alex Garland for Capitol Hill Seattle] Each year, we publish our top picks for the latest places to eat and visit for the design-minded resident or visitor to our fine city. Now with the first of the summer holidays behind us, our city is in full tourist season mode, just in time to release our 11th edition of TML Seattle. COFFEE
Honor Society Coffee / @honorsocietycoffee, 1531 Melrose Ave, 206.859.7554

[Image Credit: Honor Society Coffee]  Union Coffee / @unioncoffeeseattle, 2407 Union Street B, 206.577.7953

[Image Credit: Union Coffee Seattle]  Moonshot Coffee / @moonshotcoffee, 9622 16th Ave SW

[Image Credit: Moonshot Coffee]  Royal Drummer Cafe / @royaldrummer, 6420 24th Ave NW, 206.420.7723

[Image Credit: Anna Brones for Sprudge] BRUNCH | LUNCH
Mr. West Cafe Bar / @mrwestdrinks,
Continue reading "The Modern List Seattle"