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Old Posted Jun 27, 2014, 1:07 AM
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mSeattle mSeattle is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Hmmm, things are getting even more interesting.
This was posted by LCIII on SSC pointing to results of the recent and first design review meeting:

Originally Posted by LCIII
Some of this guidance is quite exciting:

A1 Respond to the Physical Environment: Develop an architectural concept and compose the building’s massing in response to geographic conditions and patterns of urban form found nearby or beyond the immediate context of the building site.
The composition of the three major massing elements (the Rainier Tower and the proposed structures) ought to appear as if communicating with one another. The additions to the block should be designed in a manner that would possess a strong relationship or “attitude” toward the tower’s base. Consider a design of the new insertions into the block that would 1) express a clear spatial organization shaped by the base and the two new buildings and 2) provide sightlines to the tower’s base from the north on Fifth Ave and from the west along University St. The Board noted the third scheme’s reliance upon the horizontal datum line at 139 feet established by the top of the curved base in determining the beginning of the upward curve of the tower and the height of the hotel. The Board questioned the need for strictly adhering to it. The tiers of the proposed residential / office tower could commence just above the retail plinth allowing pedestrians to experience the tower’s dramatic shape and opening views to Rainier Tower’s curved podium.
In order to achieve the guidance provided in A1 above, the Board suggested that the applicant consider building higher and consider other departures, similar to the façade modulation (request # 1 in the booklet), which may enable the lower realms of the complex to have a clearer spatial organization.
The upper reaches of the proposed tower have proportions roughly similar to Rainier Tower, square in plan, with a blunt or flat roof. While the architect conveyed the intention of relating the two towers by this similarity of form, the Board members indicated an interest in a more dramatic shape or expression on the skyline. Seattle towers over 40 floors all possess sculpted shafts and/or interestingly shaped tops.
The desire for a coherent spatial arrangement of the masses at the lower levels or pedestrian realm of the complex corresponds to a second Board interest---that open space, whether private, public or a mix, has an outward presence at or near the streetscape. The applicant
A2 Enhance the Skyline: Design the upper portion of the building to promote visual interest and variety in the downtown skyline. Respect existing landmarks while responding to the skyline’s present and planned profile.


B1 Respond to the neighborhood context: Develop an architectural concept and compose the major building elements to reinforce desirable urban features existing in the surrounding neighborhood.
The desire for a coherent spatial arrangement of the masses at the lower levels or pedestrian realm of the complex corresponds to a second Board interest---that open space, whether private, public or a mix, has an outward presence at or near the streetscape. The applicant could consider the placement of open space at street level as an entry plaza(s) or above the plinth to exert itself in more compelling ways upon the pedestrian experience than the green swaths illustrated (p. 45) in the EDG booklet. Interstitial or negative space introduced by Rainier Tower’s idiosyncratic base ought to be complemented by the massing of the new structures.
The insertion of new volumes can serve to expand and shape this space into a definable open area. By giving the podium of the Rainier Tower breathing room, the development can celebrate a significant Seattle structure, supplements its visual dynamism and creates a meaningful space that defines the lower realm where the three major buildings meet.
The concavity of Rainier Tower’s base provides the design motif for the proposed tower’s form. The architect’s inversion of the form, a broad base tapering upward to the shaft, creates a visual reference. At the next meeting, the Board would benefit from a clearer understanding of the compelling reasons for the tiered or stepped building mass. Consider beginning the steps or tiers closer to the pedestrian level. The Board noted that this mid-section of the building has little or no engagement with the form that influenced it.
The Board observed that the hotel’s massing and placement appears separate or detached from the rest of the complex. Further consideration should occur about 1) its location and its effect on view blockage of the base from the west and 2) the lack of visual synergy with Rainier Tower. The Board raised the prospects of a taller, narrower hotel structure or one embedded in the proposed tower similar in intention to the manner in which the residential volume expresses itself in Alternative # 2 as a singular form but within the larger building mass.
B3 Reinforce the Positive Urban Form & Architectural Attributes of the Immediate Area.: Consider the predominant attributes of the immediate neighborhood and reinforce desirable siting patterns, massing arrangements, and streetscape characteristics of nearby development.
B4 Design a Well-Proportioned & Unified Building: Compose the massing and organize the interior and exterior spaces to create a well-proportioned building that exhibits a coherent architectural concept. Design the architectural elements and finish details to create a unified building, so that all components appear integral to the whole.
The board seems to be "kicking the 'boot'" idea. They seem to be suggesting for a much thicker tower at same height (~800') or a similarly proportioned tower beyond 800', and a more open area at street level.
Full document:
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