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Architecture Exhibit Features Local Firms, PNW Trends

Architectural design in the Pacific Northwest features glass to reflect light, natural wood to complement the surrounding landscapes and lots of windows to let in fresh air and brightness. New trends also connect communities, use renewable resources and help solve social issues such as homelessness.

It’s all about “Symbiosis” and that is the theme of this year’s Seattle Architecture Foundation’s Model Exhibit. The exhibit, which opens to the public on Sept. 17, will have 3D architectural models showcasing local projects that demonstrate how new design is being implemented in high-rises, corporate campuses and downtown destinations.

The 2+U village area features a community space under the building, which will serve as a connection point between the Central Business District and Pioneer Square.

“This year the projects respond to social issues such as solutions to the housing crisis and how to create a live-work concept in tight spaces,” said Seattle Architecture Foundation Director Stacy Segal. “The designs show how architecture can work with the landscape and in the urban core. This is about how we create public spaces and how we bring nature inside.”

Segal explains that the new REI campus in Bellevue’s Spring District will tie into the mixed-use neighborhood and include public spaces.

The same is true for the 2+U building under construction  in Seattle’s Central Business District.

“What is happening at the ground level is what we call activated space,” Segal said. “They are places that draw people in, where they want to come and hang out. These places engage the public.”

The 2+U building will have a covered area under the cantilevered building that features a connection between downtown and Pioneer Square. It also will look out over the new Waterfront Park. The retail spaces will feature restaurants, as well as works by local artists. 

Also on display at the exhibit will be a model of the Yesler Terrace, a 30-acre redevelopment — which is centrally located around 835 Yesler Way — that will include a total of 5,000 housing units, many of which will be market rate. It does and will include trails, community gardens, a streetcar that connects residents to surrounding communities, office space, Yesler Terrace Park and a community center.

This office tower will feature mass timber construction materials.

In addition, the architectural firm DLR Group will showcase how mass timber can be used and how it can drive down construction costs. The use of cross-laminated timber, also known as CLT, can now be used in buildings as a first-choice material thanks to the passage of SB 5450. 

The bill means that the use of mass timber is available for use in buildings as tall as 18 stories. Though CLT is not cheap, developers save money in reduced labor costs. The product can cut the number of construction workers needed in half.

In additional to DLR Group, several other firms will display architectural models, including Olson Kundig, NBBJ and LMN Architects. The pieces will be on display through Nov. 23 at the Center for Architecture and Design.

Learn more about architectural design at Bisnow's BMAC Pacific Northwest on Sept. 24.