Envelope House

Seattle, Washington

Designed under new Seattle building regulations which allow the use of existing non-conforming footprints, this small multi-unit structure fits neatly onto its narrow urban site. The program was to develop three living units, which would maximize the investment potential of this long held property. The client's desire to create an architecturally and socially significant structure within the limits of a very modest budget informed the design at every level.

Two articulated volumes cascade down the sloping site and shape an elevated central courtyard. Flanked by reading pods and two transparent stair volumes, the courtyard becomes a vertical garden. The building forms evolved from an interpretation of building envelopes and allowable heights under the local zoning codes. Small bay windows push outward like saddlebags to capture the magnificent views of Lake Union and the Seattle skyline, while casually screening neighboring properties.

Constructed of modest materials, the graphic shapes and bold colors of the building both complement and challenge the context of this rapidly changing neighborhood.


2010 Honorable Mention, Urban Living Category
Sunset-AIA Western Home Awards
2009 Citation for Design
AIA Northwest and Pacific Region
2009 Futureshack Award
AIA Seattle
2009 Gold Award, Custom Urban In-Fill Home of the Year
Dream Home Awards
2008 Merit Award
AIA Seattle
2007 Home of the Year Design Award
Seattle Homes and Lifestyles
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