Design Spotlight: Atrium

April 13, 2016

Our Design Spotlight series takes a closer look at past projects designed by JA. In this edition, Ray Johnston describes what it is that makes Atrium special.

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Right off the bat, Atrium had some surprises in store for us. The first curious thing was the site: after studying some maps we quickly found that Seattle’s I-90 freeway tunnel is located right below the location, just a few hundred feet beneath the soil. Second, we discovered that we’d have to do a deep excavation of the site in order to remedy the impact of a gas station that previously occupied that location.  While these issues weren’t deal breakers by any means, they did help illustrate how Atrium needed a unique approach. Which is appropriate, considering that the resulting building has become a unique neighborhood fixture, situated in the heart of Leschi and surrounded by some of the most breathtaking views of Seattle and its nearby mountain ranges and bodies of water.  Rainier, the cascades, the city skyline: it’s all there.

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While we had a hand in designing this building, the credit goes to Ken Coleman for being the wellspring and guiding force for this project.  Ken was trained as an architect, but has spent most of his career as the founder of Compass Construction, a highly respected firm in our growing region. Ken envisioned a site that included a central focus on a south facing courtyard, surrounded by a number of exceptional living units accessed therein.  But this is far from an insular site; In order to reflect and interact with the young and emerging commercial area surrounding it, the site has space to spare a restaurant, a bar, a yoga studio, a coffee shop and perhaps a bakery. There’s an underground bar that makes full use of the extra subterranean space made available by the deep excavation required for the site.

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Today we’re happy to say that we were able to help Ken achieve his vision. 18 units are framed by a quiet and lushisly detailed atrium.  Dinner or a morning coffee are only a staircase away, adjacent to a growing pedestrian path along the heights of Leschi.  A roof garden makes for the perfect place to relax and enjoy the city–and especially the blue angels performances during Seafair.  And if you’re lucky enough to live there, make sure to spend some time at the members-only underground speakeasy bar.

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