Page D1.1 . 21 February 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Office Building Takes On Lakefront Site

    by ArchitectureWeek

    Few American cities are as surrounded by water as Seattle. But in exchange for lovely views of its several lakes or Puget Sound, architects must grapple with the construction challenges of hilly sites and a high water table.

    A recent winner of that challenge is the new corporate office building for the clothing company Seattle Pacific Industries-Unionbay. Located on the southwest shore of Seattle's Lake Union, the building offers impressive views from its perch on a steep, narrow, and irregular site.

    The new four-story, 94,000-square-foot (8500-square-meter) building was designed by Bellevue, Washington-based MulvannyG2 Architects, the third largest architecture firm in the Pacific Northwest.

    According to Ted Caloger, MulvannyG2 principal and senior project manager for SPI-Unionbay, the building's facades were inspired by the maritime theme of the lakefront and by the surrounding neighborhood, which includes older industrial and residential buildings.

    Articulating a Long Wall

    To respond to the local industrial character, and to keep construction costs moderate, the architects chose a metal and glass curtain wall for the facade along the busy Westlake Avenue. However the treatment of this wall changes along its curving length in order to break up the mass and downplay its size.

    Variations in the basic curtain wall include trellises on the corners, combinations of brick and metal siding, and a tilt to the wall over the canopied central entrance, which consequently reflects light differently from the rest of the facade.



    ArchWeek Photo

    The canopied entrance with a slightly tilted curtain wall above.
    Photo: Fred Housel

    ArchWeek Photo

    Rendering of the Seattle Pacific Industries-Unionbay corporate headquarters building as it faces out over Lake Union in Seattle.
    Image: MulvannyG2 Architects


    Click on thumbnail images
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