NK’s CEO shares strategies for designing a high-performance project that pencils

Posted by nk on September 30, 2015

Built Green Conf

With Seattle poised to add more than 50,000 new housing units in the next 10 years, there’s no better time than now to build to Net Zero-ready (NZE). This is a topic that we’ve addressed in previous conversations and recently presented to builders, developers, and fellow architects at the 2015 Built Green conference in Seattle.

During his presentation, Tim demonstrated how focusing on occupant health and comfort by integrating proven high-performance upgrades such as heat recovery ventilation (HRV), added insulation, passive energy, and smarter building techniques, drive lower vacancy rates, and increase profit margins and project value. This effectively future-proofs against functional and economic obsolescence, increasing the stability and predictability of the project’s ROI, and its ultimate feasibility.

These strategies are proven with the success of Seattle’s recent NZE-ready projects, including Cascade Built’s View Haus 5 passive house-constructed townhomes, and Dwell Development’s Built Green Emerald Star single-family home.

Together we can move the needle further in 2016. Follow us on LinkedIn for more NZE insights.


Project Spotlight: Stream 403

Posted by nk on September 15, 2015

NK’s design for Stream 403 embraces a modern yet contextual aesthetic complementing the neighborhood with an attractive mix of durable brick and natural cedar accents. Developed by the award winning, Stream Real Estate, LLC, the apartment project will feature 47-units in the center of Capitol Hill. With 7-stories and 37,715 sf, Stream 403 will be comprised of open, bright studios and 1-bedrooms with large windows and rare private outdoor spaces for each unit. Residents will enjoy magnificent views from the rooftop deck, year-round indoor/outdoor entertainment space at the ground-level and accessibility to downtown, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill’s future light rail station.

The project will be designed to LEED Silver certification. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2016. Visit our project page for more on our on the boards projects.


NK Welcomes Four New Team Members

Posted by nk on August 11, 2015

NK is excited to welcome Jennifer Bushnell, Senior Project Manager; Rosa Folla, Project Architect; Alec Gardner, Staff Architect, and Alyse Zimmer, Staff Architect, to our team!

Jennifer Bushnell joined NK with 18 years of experience in architecture and interior design. She has an innate interest in project process, land use building codes and construction administration, and has served as Project Manager on many marquee projects including the Bellevue Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Bellevue, and a high-rise hotel in South Lake Union. Jennifer is enthusiastic about the outdoors, spending time with her family and working towards her pilot’s license.


Bringing 17 years of architecture experience, Rosa Folla joined NK to further focus her work on high-performance design including Passive House for single and multifamily projects. She is a Certified Passive House Consultant and a license architect in both Washington and Italy. She has served as Project Architect for notable Seattle projects, including a single-family Passive House home in Queen Anne. Rosa received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in architecture and urban design from the University “Federico II” in Naples, Italy. Outside of the office, Rosa enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her family, and traveling abroad.

Rosa F

Alec Gardner graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Master’s degree in architecture and earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Asian studies from the University of Puget Sound. His graduate thesis on open source architecture was recognized with the university’s Distinguished Research Award. Alec volunteers his time to Sawhorse Revolution assisting local high school students in the design and building of microhouses for the homeless encampments of Seattle. He also volunteers with Plan Común developing urban strategies that challenge established norms.


Alyse Zimmer joined NK with five years of experience in high-performance architecture and interior design. Her primary interests involve promoting sustainable communities and the nature of Seattle’s land use code to embrace changing density requirements. Drawing inspiration from Seattle’s architectural variety, her infill design work was recognized in the 2014 and 2015 Professional Builder Magazine Design Awards. She is an avid athlete and enjoys playing volleyball, soccer, and tennis.


Get to know the rest of our team on our People page.

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

Follow us on LinkedIn for more industry insights.

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.

Follow us on LinkedIn and we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest on this and other regional high performance building and architecture news.



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.

Follow us on LinkedIn for more project updates and industry insights.


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.

Follow us on LinkedIn for more Passive House insights.

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