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Lakefront Blocks


Vulcan Real Estate




Seattle, WA


650,000 SF


150 units


10,500 SF

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A n expansive campus featuring two residential towers above four office buildings, Vulcan’s Lakefront Blocks is now Google’s new home in Seattle. The development combines generous amenities and public space with nearly 640,000 square feet of class A office space and 150 residential units, all with unrivaled views of Lake Union and the downtown skyline. The buildings pay homage to the history of this working waterfront, evoking the forms of linear piers, stacked lumber palettes, multi-hued shipping containers and gently curving sails. All of this is just steps away from the diverse offerings of South Lake Union, the Denny Triangle, Eastlake, the South Lake Union trolley, transit and cycle path networks, Chandler’s Cove, The Allen Institute, the Wooden Boats Wagner Education Center and MOHAI. Lakefront is at the center of it all.
Vibrant colors and layered textures further accentuate building forms and public spaces. This design vocabulary knits the Lakefront Blocks into the underlying urban fabric of the site, responding to its rich history, dynamic context, and proximity to the Lake in the heart of the city.
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Block 25 features ground floor public spaces, a 6-story office podium, and a 14-story residential tower. Addressing the lake with its truncated ends, the podium takes the form of stacked linear planks that make reference to the palletized assemblages that once defined the lakefront. Taken as a whole, the composition mediates the broad, open scale of the lake basin with the dense, tightly knit urban fabric to the south.

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C onnection: the goal of this project was to tie in the greenery of the lakefront and park feeling on the north end, merged with urban elements present on the south side. Working with Hewitt landscaping, Graphite coordinated the integration of the buildings to take advantage of multiple viewpoints and sightlines, while enhancing greenspaces to blend and transition smoothly with the adjacent park and walking traffic zones in the neighborhood.
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Considered as the 'last point of connection between downtown Seattle and Lake Union', Block 25 drew on the essence of the waterfront's history. Strong verticals on the residential tower emulate the feel of a sailing mast. Extended elements of the building frame the views from the inside, inspired by nautical telescopes from days gone by. From the outside, these extensions hint at what might appear to be multi-colored shipping containers.
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Inspirational source-points for this site include a 'log jam' of stacked lumber palettes for natural amphitheater-style seating, reminiscent of the lumber mills that once operated there. Elevated sidewalks reduce the presence of traffic and allow for unobstructed views of the park and waterways. The residential tower on the south corner is curved in the gesture of a boat sail taking in the breeze of Lake Union.

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Bisecting the development from north to south, Boren Avenue North has been transformed into a quiet respite from the bustling city, with wide sidewalks, lush plantings, generous tree canopies and convenient seating areas.
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It’s all about the details.

Once home to a waterfront sawmill, a railroad siding, maritime industrial buildings and most recently an eclectic collection of surface parking lots and low-rise warehouses, the Lakefront Blocks draw design inspiration from the rich heritage of one of Seattle’s first commercial neighborhoods.