Hyde Square’s four mixed-use apartment buildings sit on the site of a former retail complex near Bellevue’s Lake Sammamish. This relatively blank slate gave our design team creative freedom to entirely reset the pedestrian experience for future residents, primarily the tech professionals of Bellevue and Seattle interested in outdoor living.
We started by moving most of the parking below grade and deemphasizing the buildings’ garage entries, concentrating instead on a central keyhole-shaped plaza. Since Hyde Square’s vehicle drop-off points couldn’t be on the surrounding streets and we didn’t want to push the buildings back, this roundabout serves as Hyde Square’s grand entry.
We designed this element more for foot-traffic than vehicular traffic. It anchors Hyde Square’s outdoor spaces, the focus of our design. Here, where the buildings’ entry lobbies form the four corners of the square, two pavilions and landscaped courtyards encourage recreation, entertaining, co-working, and relaxing. Because these pavilions are essential to our design concept—creating an exciting place where we’d love to live—we made them easy for people to approach and interact with.
The wellness pavilion houses a gym and yoga studio, an indoor pool, spa rooms, and Hyde Square’s leasing office. The clubhouse pavilion comprises a lounge, meeting rooms, a dining room, and a catering kitchen. For both, our rich, warm material choices of dark brick, cedar siding, two-story glass lobbies, natural wood ceilings, and living roofs blur the boundaries between outside and in while reflecting the textures of the Pacific Northwest. Landscaped courtyards weave among each apartment building, perfect for getting outside or simply for seeing and being seen.
Subtle variations in massing, color palette, and interior elements differentiate each quadrant of Hyde Square. Since the site itself is so large, we broke up the buildings’ forms to support a more human scale. The sloped landscape itself helps. We buried the five-over-one height partly into the hill, and double-height entries provide rhythmic balance and make the lobbies pop. By reducing the street-facing facade lengths, we created more efficient footprints for each of the four buildings that meet zoning criteria. Visual breaks between the buildings frame views of Bellevue (and give access to emergency vehicles), help Hyde Square feel more expansive and, with plenty of corners, create more desirable two-bedroom units.
Inside and out, our aesthetic is sleek, energetic, and contemporary. Our team focused on the livability of each apartment unit, designing for circulation and function as much as furnishability. We wanted to balance the social buzz of community gatherings—public amenities for hanging out or working out, for example—with opportunities for private retreat and making a home.
This, above all, was our goal. If we could succeed in making Hyde Square into a place we’d like to live, we’d more than likely succeed in making it a genuinely dynamic, rooted place for its residents. Mixing high-density housing, careful architectural massing, and a focus on the landscape, Hyde Square is well on its way to becoming a living community where once, a few years ago, none existed.