Seattle’s diverse, high-achieving student population brings elevated standards for housing design. We married our client’s desire to create a hospitality-inspired environment with our future residents’ expectation for multifunctional, inclusive amenities. Theory U District will offer its residents diverse opportunities to study, socialize, relax, and repeat in style.
Overall, we sought to provide an environment that encourages activeness and socialization, but also gives residents options to retreat and be alone or in small groups. Each unit has a living space and kitchen, and most residents will have their own bedrooms and bathrooms. Select units also feature upgraded unit finishes. Outside the private apartments, we have created a variety of study spaces for every atmosphere, group size, or level of social interaction. Under the staircase, an intimate seating area with pillows provides a more private, peaceful option. In contrast, a large, open entry plaza is complete with a lounge, coffee bar, and banquet with chairs and tables, ideal for group projects or studying amongst friends.
This arrival area is designed to welcome residents returning home from campus via the bus stop directly in front of the building. With double heigh ceilings and a giant feature wall decorated with a wood pattern, the space feels grand upon first impression. Busy study and amenity areas are intentionally located within view of the two-story street-facing windows that wrap around the corner of the building, allowing the activities inside and outside the building to feed off each other. At night, accent lighting fixtures will be on full display, illuminating the entry plaza like a beacon for approaching residents. As people move further inside, the environment becomes more intimate, with utilitarian areas, like the mail room, conveniently located but also tucked away.
Our interiors team designed around the concept of nature and urban coming together, a reference to the Pacific Northwest’s wild beauty and Seattle’s city energy. Our color palette is largely muted, with dark blues, greys, light wood, and black metal accents. The nature-inspired areas, concentrated around the building’s interior courtyards, are designed to feel serene, comfortable, and connected fresh air and daylight. Elements include organic flooring patterns and wood slat space dividers. Urban aesthetics are prominent in the street-facing spaces along the buildings’ perimeters. Layered pops of red, metal, and geometric pattern create the urban edge with vibrancy and authenticity. Qualities of industrial and Scandinavian design in the amenity areas help create a neutral, contemporary environment.
Our goal with Theory U District was to design versatile, diverse indoor and outdoor spaces that are welcoming to any type of student—keeping in mind the unique needs of Seattle’s large international student population too. We have thoughtfully balanced inclusive styles and amenities, while still offering design-forward qualities to surpass market standards.