First Thursday, June 7 : FREEFORM by Chris Kelleher

Summer is right around the corner here in Seattle! For b9, that means (among many things) we are hosting our first Pioneer Square First Thursday artwalk show of the year! 

This coming June, we are excited to host PNW local artist, Chris Kelleher

Creating mostly through improvisation, I set out to build a relationship between marks focusing on movement, form and light. Though predominately abstract, the landscape of the Pacific Northwest has had a profound influence on my work. Whether I am painting at a live music performance or I am in my studio, music is an important part of the process.  I allow music to directly translate into my work by accessing its poetry, melody, and above all else, rhythm. I try to allow each piece to flow from the brush with the same dynamic tendencies as water itself. I consider my work to be both spiritual and playful.

Please join us for the opening show on Thursday, June 7th from 5:30-7:30pm. Light refreshments will be provided. We hope to see you!

Click HERE or on the image below to go to the facebook event page.

Urban +

Hello 2018! While we have been quiet in the blogosphere, our office has been in constant motion with not only traditional work, but also our determined pursuit to expand our practice and our body of work through various outlets. As a result, we are excited to introduce our inaugural blog post of a series that will profile certain aspects of our office that go beyond our typical portfolio. We begin with a pertinent topic in Seattle and with which we have a close connection: urban density and the relationship between existing structures and new construction. 

 

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How harmonious are the need for density, and the desire to preserve urban fabric? At b9 we find the most harmony in thoughtful design impelled by site specific solutions.

 

As the need for density in Seattle has grown, so has the pushback in demolishing the current urban fabric of single family homes. It sometimes feels the default strategy for residential development is to demolish everything that exists on a site and maximize the number of units in a multifamily development.  At the beginning of the year, b9 architects examined the history of our work, and we noticed a different, recurring typology: infill buildings that we are calling Urban +. If site and zoning constraints are met, it becomes possible and sometimes financially beneficial to preserve a site’s existing structures while placing new structures in infill positions in current driveways or backyards. Not only does it afford more financial safety to a development project, this typology also allows a developer to maintain existing urban fabric, while adding surrounding density.

 

Our research on Urban + is ongoing, and we will continue expand on the implications and motivations of this urban strategy in the coming months. 
 

 

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In this exercise we explore the varying scopes of Urban +, the Seattle City zoning and site constraints needed, and the solutions we have designed in this typology. In all case studies, we strived to create a connection to the street as well as a shared communal space between the old and new structures. We defined each strategy based on zoning and the number of lots in question.

 
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1 / SINGLE SF LOT

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The smallest scope of this type of solution, the single lot in the SF zone is zoned to only allow a single principal structure and either an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) internal to the principal structure or a detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU). This typology is not yet a viable option for development due to other zoning constraints, and are typically constructed by homeowners looking to utilize the new structure personally or as a rental for additional income. The cost of design and construction makes this typology unfeasible in many cases, causing it to be more of a unique infill situation in the SF zone.


2 / SINGLE LR LOT

On a single lot in Seattle's LR zones, if the existing single family home is in the correct location on site and in good condition, it is possible to preserve the existing home and add a new home on the same lot. This typology most benefits a small developer or a homeowner looking to maximize the lot’s potential and live in a more urban condition while maintaining a limited, or in some circumstances no yard or driveway.

This placement of this solution varies based on the placement of the existing structure. If the lot is wide enough, a new SF home can fill an adjacent space replacing the driveway. If the existing home is placed forward enough, a new structure can be placed in the backyard. In this case, adding a two or three-unit townhouse structure is feasible. This saves the existing structure contributing to the street character while adding two or three residential units.  This additional density to a neighborhood provides minimal impact on the surrounding lots and existing streetscape. Parking still needs to be considered, as does all development where it is required by zoning.

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3 / DOUBLE LR LOT

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The scope expands as the space does. In a double lot in the LR zone, with access from an alleyway, it is possible to create a single family residence and fill in the dual backyard with a townhouse development.  The alley access minimizes the impact of the parking on site, creating more space for shared pedestrian activity and structures.


4 / TRIPLE LR LOT

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The LR zone has allowances for a triple lot as well. In these instances, it is important to evaluate the existing structures in terms of placement on site, and how well-maintained they are. With this understanding, many solutions can be found in the space surrounding each structure creating a significant amount of density in a more thoughtful way, preserving aspects of the existing urban fabric.


5 / MR SINGLE LOT

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In its most significant form, the strategy can be extrapolated to the MR zone. In this case, if an alleyway exists and the existing apartment structure is appropriately maintained and positioned correctly on site, a new apartment structure can be added behind an existing apartment structure.  This adds more density and preserves character structures that are strong contributors to the city’s MR fabric.


Below is a section of a Seattle area neighborhood at an intersection of multiple zones (Single Family, Lowrise, and Neighborhood Commercial). Here, we tested the potential impact of this typology, and examined the scope of density available to the city.

 
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Lastly, we introduced our Urban + analysis at April's AIA Happy Hour, following the theme of "So What're You Gonna Do About It? : Explorations on the Social, Environmental, and Cultural Responsibilities of Design." We had a great turnout in our modest office space and were excited to share our work and values with Seattle's design community. Thank you AIA Seattle for the opportunity to host this fantastic event!

 
Sept 8 : "framed spaces" exhibit, as a part of Seattle Design Festival 2017
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As a part of this year's Seattle Design Festival, framed spaces is an exhibit in both our storefront and office space that celebrates the power of creating community spaces, and how these spaces serve their communities at various scales. 

Please join us for our exhibit opening as we kick start this year's Seattle Design Festival! 

Friday, Sept. 8th
5:30 - 7:30pm

b9 architects
610 2nd Ave, 98104

Wine and cheese will be bountiful! Hope to see you there! 

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We will explore two unique examples of community space in Seattle: the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Beacon Food Forest through the lens of both aerial and ground perspectives, as a way of framing how design, nature, and communities are interconnected.

The exhibit compares an intentionally designed space created for the community, with a space the community actively created for itself. While the sizes of the Olympic Sculpture Park and Beacon Food Forest are significantly different, there is power in how each interact with the community. One provides a unique way to experience art outdoors and much needed green space in Downtown, while the other provides public access to organic produce and education on permaculture and stewardship.

We encourage you, as the viewer, to explore these aerial photos and search for similarities and differences at each scale. 

How are the spaces designed for the community? 
What can each learn from the other about empowering the community?

 

 
June 1st : Pioneer Square Art Walk with Orlando Orozco

JUNE 1ST : 
FIRST THURSDAY ART WALK WITH ORLANDO OROZCO


Due to popular demand and the unfortunate weather conditions during our last First Thursday in May, we are having an encore show of "Landscape Obscura: Landscape Paintings by Orlando Orozco" as part of Pioneer Square's First Thursday Art Walk!

Join us for fantastic art that celebrates the PNW, light snacks and drinks, and good company June 1st from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. All are welcome - friends, family, gallery hoppers and the like. We hope to see you there!


Landscape Obscura features atmospheric landscape paintings by Orlando Orozco who obsesses over the tree-lines and mountain ridges of our coveted region, as they contrast with the constantly changing skies and inescapable darkness from shadow. Through the exploration of this darkness and ample nebulae, his pieces seek to appreciate these less than idyllic conditions that provide the necessary precipitation for our specific flora to thrive.


 
SolHaus wins 2017 Green Builder Home of the Year Award!

We're pleased to share that SolHaus, co-developed by b9 architects and Cascade Built, has won the "Home of the Year" award in the category of "Best Urban Infill Project." 

Clad in a mix of reclaimed barn wood and modern materials, the project is comprised of 10 uniquely designed townhomes that reflect careful attention to detail and energy efficiency. SolHaus was designed and constructed to rigorous passive house standards to significantly reduce energy consumption and offer superlative comfort for occupants. Located in the city’s urban core, SolHaus owners enjoy large windows overlooking a common courtyard and private rooftop decks with sweeping city views for vibrant indoor/outdoor living. Additional project features include double-height spaces, all LED lighting, zero VOC paints, high-performance European tilt & turn windows, and continuous fresh air filtered and free from pollution, dust and mold by state-of- the-art systems. SolHaus was completed in summer 2016.


Click the articles below for more information:

"2016 Green Home of the Year Award Winner: Ultra Efficient" in Green Builder Media

b9 architects website

"SolHaus wins green award" in the DJC (Daily Journal of Commerce)

"Passive townhouses in Capitol Hill win national award for green building" in Curbed Seattle