Mark R. Blubaugh, architect
The City of Burien, Washington, traditionally a bedroom community of Seattle, is in the process of transforming itself. The City’s master plan calls for a major increase in density at the central business district, including housing and amenities. Evens Condominium transforms a site of two single family residences into homes for 28 families. The design incorporates distinctive architecture to distinguish itself from a large competing condominium development a couple blocks away. A courtyard plaza opens to the south for full access to sun. There is a barbecue/picnic structure in the plaza with built-in barbecue. A water wall flows off the back edge of the plaza, down the back wall of the parking garage, leading to a fenced back yard with vegetable pea patch.
Major Considerations: Most of the street frontage has parking garage and spaces housing building services adjacent to it. This can have a detrimental effect on the building’s connection to the street. The design uses view-obscuring glass block to provide the illusion of habitable spaces along the street frontage. Proposed green design features include an extensive green roof over most of the high roof and parts of the plaza level. The green roof reduces the urban heat island effect in the area, keeps the top floor units cooler, provides storm water detention, and provides additional sound insulation for the top floor units from aircraft noise caused by nearby SeaTac airport. An over-size storm water detention vault below the parking garage will provide stored rain water for the limited irrigation needed by the drought-resistant green roof during the summer dry period. Sun shading on south-facing windows provides full sun in mid-winter and full shading, reducing solar heat gain, in mid-summer. Most importantly, by housing 28 families on ground formerly occupied by two families, the design provides a much better use of the land, and each household uses less energy for heating because most of the perimeter surfaces of each apartment abut another apartment.