Senior Services of King County
2007 MCAA International Excellence in Masonry Award Winner
B & B Tile & Masonry
Architect: Contacts Without Company
This project provides a new building and headquarters for Senior Services of King County, a non-profit agency that supports the independence of seniors. The site is a 6,480-sf mid-block lot on Second Avenue in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. The mixed-use program includes 25 units of affordable elderly housing, a shared rooftop garden terrace and two visitor parking stalls.
The concrete frame structure employs a hybrid skin of a ground-faced bearing wall masonry at the party wall property lines - solidly grouted to meet required 4-hour fire resistive rating - and ground-faced masonry veneer at the street and alley elevations, integrated for an enduring, low-maintenance and cost-effective facade.
Recognizing that the eventual development of the adjacent properties would cover the north and south facades, a simple, integrated articulation of these elevations was developed. Utilizing the solidly grouted, ground-face skin to support the slab edge on these elevations allowed the building's facade to also serve as the structure, eliminating several concrete columns and increasing floor area. Recessed accent bands articulate the floor slabs and provide scale and pattern to these facades. The accent bands are integrated into the details of the unitized window wall and the ground face CMU veneer on the east and west elevations. This concept expresses the imperative of the fire-resistive party walls as a solid masonry container, while the east and west elevations are light and open, maximizing the available light and views.
On a tight, mid-block site, the project maximizes the synergies between its two occupants, the Senior Services agency and senior housing apartments. The lower three floors are the full depth of the lot and house Senior Services' offices. Large meeting, multi-purpose and interview rooms have been placed at the street level, promoting walk-in clients and pedestrian activity, while most of the agency's program spaces are on the second and third floors and connected by an open sky-lit stair. The building steps at levels 4-8, providing a landscaped terrace at the 4th floor, a skylight for offices, and further separates the residential floors from the condominium tower across the alley. A common room facing the street is provided on each residential level, and a shared rooftop terrace and garden "pea patch" is accessible at the top of the building. The project employs a cost-effective, unitized curtain wall and metal panel system to reduce construction time and provide large areas of glass for natural light to penetrate deep into the office floors. The combination of ground face CMU, accent bands and pre-cast windowsills add detail to the planar facade. Metal sunscreens/light shelves further embellish the structure and allow for controlled natural light at the office levels, while metal window boxes provide scale and amenity to the residential floors.
The project exceeds Washington State's already restrictive energy codes by 20% through the use of high-performance glazing, upgraded insulation, day-lighting design, and high efficiency HVAC equipment, lighting and appliances. This provides significant operating cost savings and incentive rebates to the owner.