SkB Architects has designed Dexter Yard, a new 540,000-square-foot building in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, Washington (USA). Scheduled to open in late 2020, the 15-story building will comprise a pair of towers—each 175-feet-high—and provide 515,000-square-feet of lab and office space, and approximately 25,000-square-feet of ground floor space devoted to retail. A pedestrian through-block passage will offer access to retail, office elevator lobbies, and an open gathering space, as well as serve as a vital pathway connecting the South Lake Union neighborhood and Lake Union. The project will also feature an interior open area called the Field House, which will be reservable by building tenants and community groups. Approximately three levels of below-ground parking will be provided.
“The building is designed to help establish a distinct identity for the area and to enhance the developing pedestrian experience,” notes Kyle Gaffney, founding Principal at SkB Architects and co-lead designer for the project. Located near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, the building strikes a balance between the residential areas along Dexter Avenue to the North and the commercial development in South Lake Union to the South and Southeast. “By creating a pair of towers rather than a single tower, Gaffney notes, “we were able to break down the overall scale of the project to better fit with the surrounding context and to take advantage of existing site conditions, such as view opportunities and sun exposure.”
“I’m particularly excited about the potential of the Field House to become a destination for the entire community,” notes Gaffney. “We paid attention to the desire for activity and wellness, which is such an integral part of the Northwest lifestyle. The Field House will be able to play host to an amazing variety of activities that could extend beyond just tenant uses and include anything from concerts to art exhibitions to indoor soccer games. Our goal is to create a strong identity for the project, such that it engages and encourages people to hang out 18 hours a day.”
Dexter Yard departs from the typical glass box that defines most spec office buildings. Instead of creating a generic canvas for ground floor retailers, the design incorporates a number of flexible, yet specific architectural elements into the design of the ground floor spaces: an environment with which future interventions can interact.
Developed by BioMed Reality, the project is being marketed to tech, biotech, and life sciences companies. “South Lake Union is a booming hub for the tech and biotech industries,” states BioMed’s Vice President Mike Ruhl, “Dexter Yard represents one of the best and last opportunities for innovative companies wanting to plug into Seattle’s most sought-after neighborhood.”