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Integrating Woonerfs into two new townhome projects

Posted by nk on January 30, 2014

NK’s recently announced multifamily townhome projects in Columbia City, in partnership with Quadrant Homes, incorporate a special community building feature called a Woonerf.  By definition, a Woonerf is a living street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists.

The first Woonerf was developed by the Dutch in the 1960’s when residents were upset with cut-through traffic speeding through their neighborhood. They removed the brick street and replaced it with winding serpentine paths.

  Photo from The New York Times Article “Where Share the Road is Taken Literally”

Our application of the Woonerf concept reprioritizes the drive court space in each of these projects to put a primary emphasis on creating outdoor shared community space for residents and, secondarily, a space for cars to enter garages.

Click here for more information about NK’s Rainer Valley townhome project.


Posted by nk on December 17, 2013

NK Architects has been selected by Mack Urban. the successor organization to Harbor Properties and Harbor Urban, to design its new project at the intersection of 45th and Stone Way. The five-story mixed-use green building in Seattle s Wallingford neighborhood will have 150 apartments and three retail spaces with a retail patio. The apartments will be a mix of studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units.

The project will offer residents multiple amenity spaces including a roof deck with a green roof with unique plantings such as hop or grape vines. Targeting LEED for Homes certification preserving energy and water consumption up to 30% the project is expected to start construction in March 2014, and be completed in July 2015.


Quadrant 35th

NK is excited to be working with Quadrant Homes on three multifamily townhome projects in Rainier Valley and Columbia City, near the Central Link light rail and South Seattle cultural hubs. Quadrant chose to partner with NK for the firm’s focus on energy efficient architecture that maintains the continuity and character of the surrounding neighborhood. Quadrant utilizes the latest technologies in sustainable building practices to create high-performing, cost effective homes. Quadrant 35th Townhomes is a modern, 17-unit community located in the heart of Columbia City.

The 42nd Avenue S Townhomes feature 16 three-story residences in Columbia City, with live/work units along Rainier Avenue. Both projects make use of beautifully designed woonerfs that convert a shared drive court into a landscaped common plaza. Charleston Townhomes in Rainier Valley will have 16-units that feature flexible spaces like reading nooks and interest walls along the stairs.

Each project will target a Built Green 4-star rating.

Stream Fifteen to be a Vision House

Posted by nk on August 1, 2013

NK s newly designed multifamily project, Stream Fifteen. will be the first multifamily demonstration project in Green Builder® Media s VISION House® Series. The 36-unit apartment building from longtime client Stream Real Estate is located on 15th Avenue East in Seattle s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Stream Fifteen is a mix of studios, 1BD and 2BD apartments ranging from 450 1,050 square feet, along with a ground level retail space that extends the thriving retail district of the street. As a VISION House, Stream Fifteen will demonstrate the latest in green design, building techniques and products.

Targeting LEED certification, the project will break ground in February 2014.

Park Passive Project Selected for AIA Explore Design Home Tour

Posted by nk on July 10, 2013

We are proud to announce that our Passive House project, Park Passive, will be showcased in AIA Seattle’s first-ever Explore Design Home Tour. One of seven homes on the tour, the striking modern home on a small urban infill lot was designed by Marie Ljubojevic and Lauren McCunney and built by sustainable builder/developer Sloan Ritchie of Cascade Built .

Park Passive is the first certified Passive House located in Seattle. The home was certified by the Passive House Academy and authorized by the Passivhaus Institut, which sets rigorous design standards for energy use and air infiltration that translate into significantly decreased energy consumption, improved thermal comfort, and superior indoor air quality.  The Passive House consultants on this project were Rob Harrison and Dan Whitmore.

Photograph 1: Aaron Leitz Photography

Park Passive was built on one of the most difficult sites available for designing a Passive House. Early design challenges included a small, shallow floor plate; a zoning envelope that required us to work with the form of the existing house; and Passive House requirements that stipulated minimized glazing on the north side of the house, where windows would have been intuitively placed and necessitated 18” thick walls.

We addressed these challenges by emphasizing the vertical space and playing with wall thickness on the front façade. This led to interesting design features and spatial surprises, such as the double-height vaulted kitchen space that visually connects the main living area to the upstairs kids play area; a day-lit open stair punctuated with views to the street and a carved out nook for a window bench; and several large skylights that offer abundant daylight throughout the main living space. The design also widened the floor plate and addressed the lack of a back yard by creating a strong tie to the front yard using a large lift-slide door and expansive glazing.

Trees removed from the site due to the lot size were salvaged for stair treads, wall paneling, and a live-edge bathroom counter top, creating warmth and a contrast to the white walls.

Photograph 2: Aaron Leitz Photography

As one of Washington State’s most energy efficient homes, the 4-bedroom, 3-bath Park Passive uses approximately 75-80% less overall energy compared to homes built to today’s code standards. This figure reflects all of the energy used in the home by its family of four for electronics, cooking and refrigeration, clothes washing and drying, and hot water for bathing and dishwashing.

Park Passive’s average indoor air temperature of 70 degrees is managed by opening and closing its Intus high performance windows and doors in summer and using the heat recovery ventilator when it’s colder.

In addition to completing our first Passive House project, we recently added Joseph Giampietro. a founding member of Passive House NW and Certified Passive House Consultant to our team as a managing associate to bolster our experience in Passive House design.

Purchase tickets to view Park Passive on the AIA Explore Design Home Tour on Saturday, September 14, 2013 here.


Posted by nk on June 29, 2012

Boyd Pickrell, a principal at NK, contributed an article to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce on the rise in interest of prefabricated apartment buildings last week.  His firsthand knowledge of the benefits of modular construction is supported by the firm’s recent design of a new modular apartment project located in Seattle’s University District. 7 th Avenue NE Studios  is a 75-unit studio apartment complex that provides affordable housing for university students and young professionals.

  Designed to meet Built Green 4 Star requirements, the 7 th Avenue Studios are being constructed by OneBuild. a west coast supplier of manufactured building modules and components.

Here’s a snapshot of key points from Pickrell’s article:

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Accelerated project timelines

Cost savings

Constructed indoors, away from unpredictable weather elements

Community satisfaction as a result of less impact from construction traffic

Reduced construction waste

Key Challenges

Imposed height limits and the need for more space between floors in modular construction can mean the possibility of less floors

Space needed for craning-in modules

More extensive permitting processes

Financing modular construction can be difficult, often requiring a substantial deposit up front

What’s the bottom line? According to Pickrell, the pros outweigh the cons and he anticipates modular construction becoming a much more common practice.

Read the complete article here .


Posted by nk on April 17, 2012

NK s newest apartment project, located at 500 John Street near the Seattle Center, consists of a mix of studios, one and two-bedrooms and four live-work units. The 106-unit project, which is pursuing Built Green certification, will offer residents a roof deck, fitness center, communal spaces, dog wash, bicycle storage, and breathtaking views. 500 John is expected to begin construction in January 2013 with guaranteed financing from the HUD 221 (D) 4 loan program.

Project Spotlight: B O receives design review approval

Posted by nk on June 24, 2011

NK received a final recommendation from the design review board to proceed with a 79-unit mixed-use project at 1650 East Olive Way —the site of the famed BO Espresso restaurant and coffee shop.

Addressing concerns of local residents, the design conserves the SEPA view corridors, and relates to the quiet nature of the residential street with a set-in courtyard and refined landscaping details. Embracing its urban locale by offering street level retail and restaurant space adjacent to the arterial, the design incorporates modern building materials and finishes as well as common areas and green space. By optimizing the FAR and allowable height limit this project maximizes the development potential of the site.

Ground breaking is planned for spring of 2012.

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