Landscape architect Barbara Swift and her husband, contractor Don Ewing, worked with a longtime collaborator, architect Robert Miller of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, to draw up a structure that would push the envelope in terms of design and function.
"We wanted a building that is about now and the future, not a sentimental gesture to the past-a fierce and demanding building," Swift
Many of the rooms "feel like wonderful caves" because of the shape and scale, Swift
They are special spaces-not all with prescribed purposes-that residents can adapt to their own needs, such as the reading rooms, or "pods," that jut out from the side of each building.
Current tenants have found them to be the perfect place to work from home or relax and read The New York Times
, the owners say.
The complex architectural puzzle contrasts with the simplicity of the buildings' exposed materials, such as aluminum-framed windows, ipé wood decks, metal railings, exterior panels painted a look-at-me red and a confident blue-and the landscaping.
spatially organized the outside landscape with plant material that sways in the wind and yet looks crisp in its configuration.
Plants surround all sides, adding lushness in opposition to the harshness of the retaining walls that were created to balance the excavation and fill on-site.
"It's a counterpoint to the building," she
says of the landscaping that looks wild-as if it has been here forever.
"There is an audience in Seattle and a group of renters in Seattle who have a very high degree of appreciation for modernist, gutsy work, which I think is just a fabulous trend," Swift
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Barbara Swift, Swift Company, 3131 Western Ave., Ste. M423, (206) 632-2038 or swiftcompany.com