For this installment of “Evergreen homes” — a new series of posts where I spotlight great, green homes in my home state, Washington — I thought I’d mix things up a bit. Although the eco-friendly abodes that I’ve featured in the past have certainly been diverse — they range from LEED Platinum prefab urban infill projects to eco-modern retreats in the middle of nowhere — most (an exception being Seattle’s Footprint at the Bridge) have been of the single-family variety.
Today, to tie in with another ongoing series of mine, “Home is where the office is,” here’s a look at Art Stable, a beautiful mixed-use urban infill project in downtown Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood of Cascade that includes six live/work lofts and ground-floor commercial space.
As noted by the project's developer, Point32 — the same developer behind the planned Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction, an uber-green commercial building designed by the Miller Hull Partnership — these live/work loft units are sold as "flexible shells." According to the Point32 website, only two units remain on the market, and from what I gather, they aren't exactly cheap.
Completed in October 2010, Art Stable was designed by Tom Kundig of acclaimed, Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig Architects. This is the same firm responsible for The Pierre, an absolutely stunning getaway in the San Juan Islands that's built into a giant rock outcropping.
Built on the site of a former horse stable, the building carries its working history into the future with highly adaptable live/work units. Both front and back elevations of the building are active. The alley-facing façade features an 80-foot 5-inch tall hinge topped by a davit crane and five steel-clad, hand-cranked doors that cover nearly a third of the façade. The system references a warehousing tradition in how it moves oversize objects into the building. On the street side, large hinged windows open to provide natural ventilation throughout the units. The building draws upon the architectural concepts of prospect and refuge, transposed to an urban setting.
Sustainable features of Art Stable include natural ventilation (check out those massive windows!), in-floor radiant heating and cooling, and a super-efficient geothermal heat pump system that runs in loops through the structural pilings of the building’s foundation. According to Olson Kundig, Art Stable is one of the first instances of this type of geothermal system being used in the United States. Additionally, the building is designed to accommodate rooftop solar systems.
What a beautifully conceived project — and yet another home run for Olson Kundig. Cascade/South Lake Union is an interesting neighborhood that’s undergone a lot of development in recent years. I remember it as being somewhat of a wasteland filled with parking lots, a crazy Russian Orthodox church, large industrial buildings, and later the giant REI flagship store. It was also (I think, if my geography is correct) home to a place that I spent a fair amount of time as a teenager, RCKCNDY, an all-ages nightclub that was demolished in 2001. Sad. Regardless, it appears that Art Stable is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
And in other Seattle-centric green home news, this weekend the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is hosting the 2011 Green Home Tour. This 28-home tour that includes Seattle and Eastside King County is free and self-guided. A notable stop on the tour is last week’s featured “Evergreen Home,” the Hale-Edmonds Residence, and a slew of other sustainable, Seattle-area beauties that are certainly future “Evergreen Home” contenders.