Microhousing: We are in the middle of a controversy and we’re ecstatic about it! No, we’re not in a gossip column. We’re in the thick of designing a microhousing project. Microhousing has seen a lot of bad press in the last year or two but Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development has been critical in hosting a public debate. The results are rolling in and they’re positive. The DPD is still making the final revisions to the microhousing code and will most likely pass their recommendations on to the Seattle City Council for a vote this year.
vergeAD has been hired to design a 32 sleeping room development in the heart of the U-District, a stone’s throw from the University Village. We believe in microhousing because it offers a high density, affordable housing opportunity in the heart of the city, without subsidy. It’s motto: micro sized apartments = low rent. Given that low rent has vanished in Seattle since the early 90’s we felt it was important to contribute to the microhousing debate by helping set a precedent. We also believe there’s a better way to build these projects. Thoughtful design is more cost effective than un-thoughtful design. Also when the land owner plans to hold the property then life cycle costs can be analyzed and higher cost, lower maintenance materials can be used. Kudos to the owner for having that vision.
We will be submitting this project for permit in March and plan on starting construction in late summer.
Seattle Vietnamese Christian Church: The church project that was many years in the making is going to see completion in 2014! The Vietnamese community that has funded it and will occupy it is tremendously excited to move in this spring. This was vergeAD’s first experience designing for a community (usually we have private clients). It has been a tremendously rewarding project. Communities – one and all – please step forward. We’re ready to help!
Arbor Heights Residence: A dream client and a dream project. This client and her family asked us to design a modern forest cabin on a tight budget in the middle of the city. Her core values were simple and unwavering: energy efficient envelope, low maintenance materials, low cost per square foot, modern design. MUSIC TO OUR EARS! The site is a double lot which afforded us the freedom to passively design this home. Deep overhangs protect south facing glass. The house and its rooms are elongated in the east/west direction maximizing the passive solar impact. Construction is planned to start in April.
Clyde Hill Residence: We’ve just begun schematic design for a whole house remodel in Clyde Hill. We will be submitting for permit in early spring. The owners are maintaining a blog of their own – they’re excited! http://clydehillmidcentury.blogspot.com/
The design challenges with this project are particularly fun. The goal is make the architecture a modern vernacular that is familiar to the Pacific Northwest without being “current” but rather, timeless. While the interiors are planned to have a bold yet more traditional slant yielding a transitional style in the end.
15th Ave Studios: Not quite microhousing but close. This project did more of what we like. We are increasing density, and surgically. We added 4 stacked studios is a miniature addition off of the back side of a handsome 1902 brick building on Capitol Hill. You wouldn’t even know the addition is there but for the littlest sliver revealing a modern touch to a traditional form when viewed from the street. This project is in permit review now and is slated to begin construction this summer.
Back Yard Cottage: We designed our first back yard cottage under the new code that was adopted in 2012. The code is very strict and forces a high level of creativity out of designers if the goal of the project is to make something unique. If the goal is to make a miniature traditional house then it’s no sweat, that’s what the code is geared to. Our client, however, was interested in something else so we went for it.
Residential Remodels: We continue to design for our clients that came to us on extremely tight budgets. We master planned and we phased construction. We’re on phase II of the arbor heights residence, landscape/outdoor living; phase II of the Normandy Park residence, kitchen remodel; Phase I of the Wedgwood residence, basement conversion.
Feasibility Studies: This is an important part of what we do as architects. Sometimes it takes 5 years to get to the point where we can design a building with our clients. From that first inquiry about a potential land purchase to the land closing, this is a critical time when we help realize the potential of a site and a project. We are in the process of researching the possibilities on 3 properties in the region. Understanding land value and market value is a big part of our knowledge base. It comes from years of working with private land owners and developers alike as well as having a deep understanding of the land use codes from around the region.