Lowrise Zone Code Changes Passed in Seattle

Posted by nk on July 28, 2015

On July 6th the Seattle City Council passed a number of revisions to the lowrise zone land use code, including adding Passive House as a way to achieve floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses. NK Architects’ Brandon Nicholson and Joe Giampietro influenced the vote through their diligent advocacy of Passive House, educating council members on how this practical, cost effective building standard leads to significant energy savings, as well as increased project value and occupant health. These incentives will serve as a catalyst for additional high-performance design zoning legislation locally and regionally. As a leader in Passive House design and certification, NK can help you achieve a FAR bonus in your next lowrise zone project.


11th and Republican PH Multifamily Rendering

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Passive House Incentives Proposed in Seattle

Posted by nk on July 3, 2015

On July 6th Seattle’s City Council will vote on important building code revisions effecting high performance and multifamily development in the city’s lowrise zones. The proposed changes address issues that impact neighborhood density and building energy performance including Passive House incentives, setback requirements, and height restrictions on row houses and apartments. Amendments to these revisions were proposed by Council Member, Tom Rasmussen, which sought to restrict the city’s growth and long-term energy goals by imposing unreasonable requirements. NK’s Founding Principal, Brandon Nicholson, was onsite to influence a committee vote on these updates, which turned down many of Rasmussen’s revisions. You can review a full summary of the proposed amendments here.

If you own property in Seattle’s lowrise zones and disagree with these new restrictions, we encourage you to call Planning, Use and Sustainability Committee Chair, Mike O’Brien at 206-684-8800.

Isola Greenwood

The NK-designed 4-story Isola Greenwood apartments, a 32-unit mixed-use lowrise project expected to be completed in 2016.

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NK Chosen to Design Dwell 61st

Posted by nk on June 30, 2015

NK was chosen to design Dwell-NW’s newest project in Seattle’s thriving Ballard neighborhood. Dwell 61st is designed to Built Green 5-Star certification and clad in a mix of reclaimed barn wood and modern materials. The  2-building project is comprised of two 2,003 sf 3bd/2ba duplex units and one 1,390 sf 1bd/1ba + flex space single family home. Residents will enjoy generous private outdoor spaces with terraces and courtyards, an easy walk to Ballard’s many shops and restaurants, daylighting with large windows and bio-retention planters for water savings. Dwell 61st is expected to be completed in spring 2016.

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Demystifying Passive House: Insights From Here and Abroad

Posted by nk on June 10, 2015

NK attended two Passive House conferences this spring, the  PHnw 6 conference in Seattle and the International Passive House Conference in Leipzig, Germany. Our resident Passive House expert, Joe Giampietro, presented at PHnw6 on how integrating high-performance upgrades for multifamily projects can increase ROI, value, occupant health and comfort.

PH classesTim Weyand, NK’s CEO, and Brandon Nicholson, Founding Principal, traveled to the event in Germany to garner insights on the economics of passive design strategies and the use of Passive House techniques for renovations. New Passive House certification classes (levels) were also announced at the conference, which now take into account both building efficiency and the use of renewable energy.

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Visiting the City of Tomorrow: Malmo’s Western Harbor

Posted by nk on May 27, 2015

NK’s CEO, Tim Weyand, visited Malmo, Sweden to see first-hand how a desolate brownfield was transformed into what will be the world’s first carbon-neutral district. Named the Western Harbor, the district will achieve net zero energy (NZE) by 2020 through a mix of Passive House-constructed homes and buildings, projects with high-performance upgrades and the integration of renewable energy sources including solar panels, urban wind farms and an aquafer thermal energy storage system for heating and cooling.

When complete, the district will house 6,500 families in market-rate and affordable housing, and employ nearly 30,000 people in its businesses, schools and commercial services.

Malmo 1

This NZE model can be applied locally by transforming the unused 185-acre Port of Seattle Terminal-5 (T-5) into a carbon-neutral district. Achievable within 5 years, the new T-5 district would help solve Seattle’s affordable housing worries, create the needed comps for financing more NZE projects, serve as an example for energy independent living nationally and benefit the Port and City of Seattle financially.

See photos from Tim’s tour of the Western Harbor below, and check back for more insights from Europe.

Malmo 2Swedish ship Klokums shipyard pre-1998, only part of the 380-acre Western Harbor.


Malmo 3The nearly completed Western Harbor NZE district today.


Malmo 4An interior streetscape in the Western Harbor.


Malmo 5Views from the district’s Baltic Boardwalk.


Malmo 6A woonerf used to safely prioritize pedestrian traffic over cars.

Read more about our perspective on NZE here and follow us on LinkedIn for updates.

Design Starts on New Capitol Hill Studio Project

Posted by nk on May 15, 2015

NK was selected to design JaMar Boylston, a Built Green 4-Star studio apartment project in the heart of Capitol Hill. The 6-story, 8,100 sf project will feature 17 units ranging from 310-590 sf. Upper unit residents will enjoy private rooftop decks and all residents will share common mezzanine and outdoor spaces, and secure bike storage. The project will be constructed using high-performance building practices, including added insulation and energy efficient mechanical systems, and is expected to be completed in late 2016.



Celebrating Seattle’s High-Performance Projects

Posted by nk on April 29, 2015

From Park Passive, Seattle’s first certified Passive House in Madison Park to the award winning net zero-constructed Stream Belmont in Capitol Hill, we’re excited to be a leader in Seattle’s high-performance building community. We developed this map to celebrate the growing number of high-performance projects in and around Seattle. Building to these high standards not only lowers dependency on natural resources, it maximizes energy efficiency and provides a healthy, comfortable environment with clean indoor air and non-toxic finishes.

See all of our projects here.nk_phnw_flyer_map2

NK Attends the International Passive House Conference

Posted by nk on April 15, 2015

NK’s Founding Principal, Brandon Nicholson and CEO, Tim Weyand are headed to Leipzig, Germany to attend the 19th International Passive House conference April 17th and 18th. During the conference attendees will learn about the newest developments in passive house design and construction, experience the latest in cost-effective passive house products and tour passive house-constructed buildings both completed and under construction.

brandon-nicholson_nk_web Tim-Weyand_nk_web

We’re excited to apply their findings from the conference to our high-performance projects. Check back soon for more news from the International Passive House Conference and Tim’s visit to the world’s first carbon-neutral district in Malmo, Sweden.

Learn about NK’s design of Seattle’s first certified passive house, Park Passive.




NK Welcomes a New Team Member

Posted by nk on March 25, 2015

NK is excited to welcome Brittany Porter, Staff Architect, to our team!

Brittany graduated from the University of Oregon with a Master’s degree in architecture and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is part of a design team whose proposal for a Mexico City contemporary design museum recently placed in an international competition hosted by Arch Triumph. In her spare time, Brittany is active in the AIA Young Architects Forum and Women in Design and enjoys exploring the Northwest’s great outdoors, practicing guitar, painting and photography.


Project Spotlight: ConAm Selects NK for Crown Hill Mixed-Use

Posted by nk on March 19, 2015

NK has been selected to design ConAm’s latest mixed-use project in Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood. The 150,000 square foot, 4-story apartment building will include 3,000 square feet of retail space and 131 units, which vary in type from studios to 2-bedrooms. Situated at the connection between the burgeoning Crown Hill Urban Village and the Western boundary of Greenwood on Holman Road, residents will enjoy easy access to downtown, a short walk to transportation, and an array of amenities including onsite below grade parking, a fitness center, interior courtyard and a roof-top deck with impressive views of the Cascade and Olympics Mountains, Puget Sound and Downtown Seattle. The project is expected to be completed next winter.