'Floating Boxes' of new Multifamily Project to Bring Eyes onto Melrose Promenade

Seattle’s Melrose Promenade is one of those urban design diamonds in the rough, calling out “polish me!” to neighbors and urban planners alike.

Rendering of NK's new multifamily project on Melrose Promenade, Bell View.

While graced with panoramic views of Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, and the Olympic Mountains, the Promenade’s Melrose Avenue and Melrose Connector Trail are rough around the edges. Fortunately, the thoroughfare is getting some well-deserved TLC from neighbors intent on creating a safe and pleasant amenity to walk and bike along. (See the Melrose Promenade Visioning Project.) Key to that effort is to get more “eyes on the street” from surrounding residences. The Connector Trail, especially,  can feel pretty isolated and hidden from view when traveled alone.

Photo of current building (r), entrance to Connector Trail (c), and Connector Trail bike path (l)

NK’s new project, Bell View, is one step in this urban design renewal, enhancing the streetscape at the trail’s central entrance and bringing new residents to enliven the Promenade. The project’s two floating box forms will perch on the hill above, with generous west-facing windows providing a prospect for residents to survey the Promenade below and the sweeping views beyond.

Rendering of west-facing facade.

Our design team took advantage of the building’s high visibility, from both the Promenade and from Lake Union below, to engage passersby.

“The two floating boxes are split by this really dynamic moving architectural piece that has an iridescent quality to it,” Project Manager Rachel Hedlof explained. “As you move across the façade, it's going to change colors from brilliant red to gold.”

The team also worked to incorporate the building into the circulatory needs of the neighborhood. The sidewalk in front melds into the bike path, and a notch in the building allows fire trucks and utility vehicles to turn around safely in otherwise tight quarters.

Rendering of streetscape experience.

The building’s west-facing windows are of double laminated high performance glazing, designed to shield interior spaces from the noise of I-5 below. To ensure healthy interior air quality, two heat recovery ventilation (HRV) units provide a continuous stream of filtered, fresh air to all west-facing units and boost the building's energy efficiency.

The team pulled the 58-unit building down toward the front edge of the property to preserve the site's steep slope and revegetate it with native plants. Fully 7,000sf of hillside will remain unbuilt. Three tiers of green roofs will bring the garden onto the Built Green 4-Star building itself, both mitigating storm water runoff and creating new greenspace for critters and residents to enjoy alike.

“Melrose Promenade has been on and off the City’s radar for years,” said Principal Steve Fischer, “so it’s great to be part of its renaissance today.”

Project team included: Steve Fischer, Rachel Hedlof, Marie Caryl, and Cory Dion.