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. In 2018, b9 architects examined the history of our work, and we noticed a different, recurring typology: the backyard building. If site and zoning constraints are met, it becomes possible and sometimes financially beneficial to preserve a site’s existing structures and 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.
In this exercise we explore the varying scopes of this strategy, the site constraints needed, and the solutions we have designed in this typology. In all projects we strive to create a connection to the street as well as a shared communal space between the old and new structures.