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City View Residence

Location: Seattle, WA

Size: 3,925 SF

Cost: $340/SF

Completed: 2006

Photography: Michael Shopenn

The view from the existing WWII era house took in Anchor Point to the north, the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle, and Mount Rainer to the south. Working with the existing footprint and foundation to minimize disturbance of steep slopes, we created a new urban residence of that honored the site’s stunning views.

A glass curtain wall that stretches across the east side of the house and turns the south and north corners was dictated by the environment; any walls used would have blocked the view. Commercial sliding doors allow a 21-foot by 9-foot opening to a cantilevered deck and make it a part of the living space. A glass skylight and window walls bisect the house to create a stair core that brings natural daylight into the interiors and serves as the spine of the house. A west courtyard garden lends outdoor space to a home that sits above a steep east hillside. The house opens to decks and green hillside to the east and a traditional landscaped courtyard to the west.


Exposed structural steel and highly efficient glass window and doors systems allowed the exterior walls of the City View Residence to be 55% glass. Portland cement stucco and zinc panels side the opaque walls and modulate the scale of the house. A roof plane of sealed Douglas fir rafters and fir plywood caps the house with a warm natural material and shelters the walls. A warm pallet of American Cherry cabinetry, bamboo flooring, natural limestone and granite creates a comfortable interior.

The City View Residence uses an advanced hydronic radiant heating system, solar shading glass, and high efficiency appliances and mechanical systems to reduce energy use. The reuse of the existing foundation system expedited permitting at the City of Seattle and saved construction cost and materials.

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