Seattle, Washington

Grounded in a Sense of Place and Balance

  • Neighborhood


  • Type

    HUD-Financed Project

  • Size

    114,700 SF
    90 Residential Units
    38 Live/Work Units

  • Sustainability

    LEED for Homes v4 - Silver

  • Status

    Completed 2019

  • Services


  • Awards

    2019 NAIOP Night of the Stars: Multi-Family Residential Urban Development of the Year: More than 100 Units, Nominee

    2019 Excellence in Masonry Awards (WA): 2nd Place, Residential

  • Photographer

    Built Work Photography

  • Client

    Pastakia + Associates

Feng shui comes home

Our concept began with the client’s interest in embodying feng shui principles throughout the project. Translating feng shui into architectural decisions led us in logical directions (such as the east-facing main building entry), but it also inspired us toward thoughtful symbolism in materials. A dragon’s scales rise from modular brick; a crisp metal panel represents a phoenix in flight; and fire and water elements throughout the project lend simultaneous energy and grace.

Layers of material and meaning

We sought a careful balance of movement and unity in designing Zella’s exterior. The project features warm, vertical sections of cedar, and dramatic vertical strips of accent lighting that guide the eye upward; horizontal black accent bands simultaneously unify the elevations. A changing relationship between the sidewalk and the street-level units offers visual rhythm, while stepped patios and cedar-clad canopies artfully compose a transition between public and private space.

Affordability at an important inflection point

Zella was built during a time of significant housing shortages and affordability challenges in Seattle. We responded by designing a highly efficient building layout within a tight footprint; and in order to further maximize resources, we navigated approval for both increased height and an affordable housing rezone. The project also successfully pursued affordable housing program incentives including HUD financing, the Multifamily Tax Exemption, and Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda programs.

Program: Double-height lobby space with overlooking mezzanine; double-height live/work units with mezzanines at street level. Fitness room, resident lounge, below-grade parking. Rooftop amenity space with communal fire pit, bbq island, green roof, dog run, and herb garden.