Leeward is a mixed-use development that enhances the pedestrian experience along Dexter Avenue North and offers a one-of-a-kind living experience for professionals in the rapidly growing area of South Lake Union. Inside and out, the design is rooted in the neighborhood's historical maritime and industry character.
Creating a 400,000 sq. ft. mixed-use project on a steep hillside in Lake Union is easier said than done. Our team had a series of sit-down reviews with the city to present ICC-compliant moves, code alternates, and unique structural solutions. Thanks to the team’s knowledge of Seattle zoning and building codes, the development was made possible.
Three buildings, bridged with underground spaces, span the 60 ft. elevation change of the site. Together they represent a terraced vista that overlooks the watershed for Lake Union. It fits the scale, context, and character of the neighborhood and creates a human-scale experience for pedestrians and commuters along Dexter Avenue.
Each streetscape and building façade is designed to complement the public/private transition at residential entries. Textured wooden panels are interposed between tall, simple windows and metal paneling. A neutral base echoes the Northwest’s aesthetic and planters with slatted wood dividers separate resident patios for a warm look and added privacy. As a “jewel box,” the smallest building uses rich wood and black windows to visually distinguish its character as the main entry into the development.
The hillside-scaling design resulted in an opportunity to create an amenity like no other in the city: an underground lounge complete with a restored ‘69 Airstream Trailer. The “backyard” of the development has been a verifiable hit—so popular with residents, a couple married in it.
Leeward also offers easy access to (real) outdoor amenity spaces as well. In the central courtyard, each home apartment has a private deck that’s integrated with a continuous, mounded landscape on year-round groundcover and framed by large shrubs and small trees for privacy. Three distinct roof terraces provide multiple opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and social gatherings, each with different view aspects of the surrounding landscape, including Lake Union. Patterns of green roofs create a water-like surface for the wood decks recalling the lakeside locale. Small-scale trees in containers will enhance the space and provide definition to the outdoor rooms.