Remington Court / HyBrid Architecture

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Architects: HyBrid Architecture
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Project team: Robert Humble, Nicholas Williams, Jonathan Lemons, Barrett Eastwood, Joel Egan, Melissa Burchett
Builder/General Contractor: HyBrid Assembly
Structural Engineer: Davido Consulting
Civil Engineer: Davido Consulting
Custom Carpentry: Sugar Hill
Photographs: Lara Swimmer, Cleary O’Farrell and Nick Williams

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acted as architect, developer, and construction manager to empower their decisions from inception to the built form. To break down the massing of the two buildings to address the small scale of the adjacent neighborhood, the two structures were sited to allow southern solar access and view corridors to all four units. HyBrid chose to respect the small single-family homes neighboring the property by creating a detached single family home at the rear alley.

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This house has similar characteristics including a horizontal paulownia open-joint rainscreen enclosure assembly which mimmicks the lap-siding of the existing homes in the neighborhood. The three units facing the street reach out to pedestrians akin to the rowhome developments that were prevalent in larger cities. The front stoops reach to the ground inviting neighbor interaction, while the penthouse stair towers reach to the sky, engaging the Seattle skyline in the near distance.

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A building should be designed to be adaptable for the many generations that will enjoy it. In 100-years the building will likely have a completely different use as the city and zoning change. Because of this, HyBrid chose to allow the building to adapt over time. The bottom floor has rough-in plumbing for a future kitchen, its own entrance, a 3/4 bathroom, and is designed with a demountable wall to be built-out to completely separate it from the 2 floors above. This simple design technique allows the building to double its occupancy if necessary. The roof gardens are equipped with 9″ of soil to allow for gardening by the inhabitants.

Cite: "Remington Court / HyBrid Architecture" 30 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=35108>

31 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I knew this was a Seattle project before I even looked at the written description. How? American modernist projects all sort of look the same, and there’s a trend in the Pacific Northwest particularly of essentially cubic buildings with one volume clad in wood. Usually these are boring stacked townhomes that have the basic volume of a developer building.

    It’s a kind of conservative modernism that seems to repeat itself ad nauseum in the US. Why is that? So many of the examples shown on this site from Europe, Asia, or South America are really innovative. But almost all of the American examples fit this bland wooden box developer townhome model. The funny thing is that I think the architects are convinced that what they’re doing is somehow innovative.

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        All depends on your perspective. I’d be happy if one client
        in 100 wanted something this innovative. It may seem
        formulaic to you because it is finally catching a larger
        audience. Its like when REM went from a college band to
        a mainstream band, and to the old college crowd it was no
        longer cool to like REM. That ‘hipper-than-thou’ attitude is
        prevalent in architecture too.

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        I don’t think the overall goal of this project was to be innovative and push the envelope. With HyBrid acting as developer on this, it is probably more of a jump off for thier design/build practice. Sure it is nice to do something that is out of your mind innovative, but other times you just have to make money as fast as possible. It is a nice piece for the neighborhood and should be able to sell fast enough to make the firm some money to roll into thier next project. Maybe something innovative in a non-residential area that has limited urban/mixed-residential code regulations. Something similar to the way they are using recycled shipping containers as cabins.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’d agree that this is both nice and still largely innovative for
    most of what you see in developer housing. Somehow architects pushed all this modernism, and then decry its prevalence once it catches on. I appreciate trying to be at the head of the curve – but things aren’t necessarily bad simply because they are no longer revolutionary. Seems like a great project!

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Is the intention of every home to be progressively modern?

    The idea just made me throw up a little bit. It is almost as if you are channeling Libeskind and condemning the rest of us for not subscribing to your personal aesthetics.

    Granted I could not agree more that the building is not innovative.

    What is the homes function and purpose? From actually reading the article, it says, “HyBrid chose to respect the small single-family homes neighboring the property by creating a detached single family home at the rear alley.”.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      No, and I never said that it was the intention of every home to be modern. But this site is about modern (contemporary) architecture. So you would assume that works posted here would be progressive in some way.

      Libeskind is hardly what I would think of as a progressive modern. His buildings are formal exercises that really don’t innovate beyond the level of geometry. Other architects out there are innovating in terms of programming, financial models, social engagement, etc.

      And I don’t condemn anyone for not subscribing to my personal aesthetics. But buildings are a part of the public domain and, as such, are subject to criticism (mine, yours, other architects’, the public’s, etc.) Architecture only gets better through criticism, doesn’t it?

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        I should add that I do believe project is progressive and interesting, but also fairly conservative by the standards of global contemporary architecture. That was my real point.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Innovative or not, this project works really well. It appears comfortable to live in, timeless, and is not an eye soar from the street. It fits well with the context…

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    demasiado parecido al proyecto elemental de alejandro aravena, solo que este proyecto es para gente con una capacidad adquisitiva mayor!

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I was the project manager/superintendent of this project and I will tell you that we were not trying to be innovative….rather we were designing for the masses and attempting to create a building that could adapt over time to the needs of the neighborhood. It can easily morph to be 6 units and can allow for the homeowners to generate some additional income to supplement their mortgage with the mother-in-law units at the ground. This is the reason for the elevated entries and stoops. Unfortunately it is not ADA “friendly” but it is not a commercial office building.

    Buildings don’t have to be innovative to be timeless and you would be surprised to find out that these were market rate homes, sold for about $300/sf…which is unheard of in downtown Seattle.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The idea that timelessness should be the goal of architecture (as so many formal histories of architecture would have us believe) seems a bit strange to me. Architecture is a deeply transactional profession: buildings are meant to interact with their inhabitants and to change over time. So whenever an architect talks about trying to make “timeless” works of architecture, I’m skeptical. No piece of architecture is timeless: even the Parthenon and Pantheon are now just tourist sites, with certain analogues to a town like Las Vegas or a building like the Guggenheim Bilbao. So is that our goal with “timeless” architecture: to make a new tourist site?

    I don’t deny that the project has some interesting details and pushes the envelope of Seattle’s fairly conservative architectural standards. It does so (relatively) affordably. I just find it interesting that, by the metric of other global works of architecture on this website, much of the American work appears conservative and not really that innovative–in terms of its programming, its form, or its financial structure. But maybe that’s where American architecture is today: beholden to a rigid developers’ idea of what makes good architecture. Yes, Hybrid were lucky that they didn’t have to make developer townhomes. But my argument is that these are in some ways merely an IKEA-ized version of the typical developer townhome.

    This also isn’t about my work, CW. A building becomes a part of public discourse and will be commented on and criticized. Criticism is a valuable (indeed, essential) part of making architecture. It’s a weak kind of schoolyard argument to say, whenever one of your projects is criticized, “well, fine, let’s see YOUR work, then.” As if judging my work will make the original project any better, or less immune to criticism.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Very good project….

    I think the idea of vertical housing is very common all over the world, only really matters the final results…Pretty place to live, congratulations!

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    great work

    many thanks to Ted Smith and the rest of the [woodbury] san diego clan for showing the way

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