CONDITION: RESIDENTIAL ALLEY  An alley is a slice of the specimen, a walk through the entrails of a warm but open beast: one-car sheds, gravel parking, a gathering of dumpsters, back entrances, gardens and yards, the shortcut to your destination. Thanks to setbacks, adjacent rear yards create a void. Perfect for additional housing.  Likened to Maunsell Forts over the sea, these friendly giants arch over alleyways, accessible by spiral staircases and breezeways, with more than enough clearance for service trucks below. A drag from your joint as thin watertower shadows gently cover the neighborhood amid sunset. Tower spacing is a must.
co-op_Page_09.jpg
 CONDITION: SURFACE PARKING LOT  If each house (a "dwelling unit") requires at least one discreet parking space, why not just develop on the darned things?  On the sidewalk, garages greet you first. Carved into the landscape, a lonely concrete storage box cracks under sun and rain. Sure, it’s within the setback, grandfathered nonconformity in all its illegal splendor, but why can’t life legally occur within them too?
 CONDITION: SURFACE LOT AND EXISTING APARTMENT  It’s called Completing the Donut: No one gets an eviction notice, just a bit of noise and dust. What you lose: sleep and your parking spot. What you get: more neighbors and a private garden.
 CONDITION: MULTIFAMILY ALLEY  An alley is a ray of light cast on a canyon of brick and grime. Preservation and Cost encourages thecarving out of old skin and bones and adding new ones... but can these new bones leave the body and become wings?  We praise the alleyways and markets of fantastical "other" worlds: Mexican, French, Turkish, Cambodian, Taiwanese twists and turns, the density of trade and culture fueling a primal urge to be amongst people, a celebration of human life through commerce and creativity.  The experience is three-dimensional: below, above, inside, and in the periphery, an alley engages you, framing the sky above in its little world.
 CONDITION: SLOPPED STREET  "I honestly don’t know what happened," Xochitl Manriquez explains. "We were a group of about 30+ people, had plans in hand and went straight to the chambers. We demanded to be sold public land affordably and in its place we’d hold it in a trust. They just said yes. We almost forgot to say thank you from the shock."  Xochitl, along with neighbors and friends, have created the Seattle’s first combination street infill and community land trust project. CLTs are democratically managed organizations who buy and develop land for the sole purpose of keeping housing stock affordable. These developments range from rentals to detached homes to co-ops.  "Every time someone moves out, the unit they vacate is forever affordable. No profits except to pay taxes and maintenance.”  "The parking situation was weird," she recalls. "I think it’s what had the most controversy." The development closes off a portion of Roy St, making the existing public on- street parking into a private parking garage. It was the best way to capture lost space due to geography. Xochitl says that, depending on demand, neighbors are given access when space is available. "It’s exactly like the RPZ permitting process, but in our garage.”
 CONDITION: WIDE STREET  The street as wide as the buildings tall, a dimensional relic of a streetcar past. Potholed terrain never friendly to tires big or small, the street is empty except for the occasional zoom and boom. On a bright sunny day, one often wishes for a blanket of grass to unroll forty-five feet across- to block the street on a Saturday afternoon for an unpermitted block party.  Instead, it doesn’t end. We build for hours, days, and months. And thus began, the summer of ghost street development.
prev / next