We’re a week out from the Seattle Modern Home Tour, and we’re gearing up to see what kind of modern urban design the city has in store. Two of the homes on the tour are the work of Stannard Conway Architects, a four-person firm with a design aesthetic that we just love. We had the chance to sit and chat with Brad Conway and ask him some questions about 1707 Dexter Ave., a mixed-use, Lake Union-oriented condominium project with four residential units and two live/work units at street level.
As a mixed-use condo, how do you define the different spaces and design for the assorted functions that each space serves?
By the use of steps, overhangs, and double height spaces, we seek to define the different functions. The spaces for each function are well defined individually and complement the larger open space. We seek a harmony within the space by balancing the sense of prospect gained from views and the glazed walls with the sense of refuge created by containing walls
The exterior front is very striking and unique. Can you tell us a bit about the materials you used for the exterior, and the effect you were going for?
To take advantage of the stunning Lake Union views and to express the structure, with queues taken from early 20th century industrial buildings. The red “X” bracing is to resist earthquake loads on the building.
If you could highlight one or two features of the condominium to the tour-goers, what would those be?
A balance between warm materials, predominantly clear finished wood beams and the structural “car decking” for floor and roof structures with raw steel columns and exposed ductwork.
How do you think Seattle embraces modern design?
In recent years Seattle has turned very, very quickly from a craftsman town to a modern town. It tends to be a modernism with contemporary Northwest overtones. There is a sense of adventure that’s new and ahead of most American cities of similar size; however, it’s no Venice Beach. Overhangs are very Northwest; we like them, they provide shelter form the incessant rain and have become symbolic for protection and security.