South Lake Union’s transformation from a former warehouse canyon into a thriving urban office district is fulfilling its potential to draw leading technology companies to Seattle. The growth of tech-driven office space also drove the mixed-use development of residential, hospitality, and retail spaces meant to attract and retain top talent – especially for major tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Lakefront Blocks – the new Seattle headquarters for Google – is comprised of four 6-story office buildings with two residential towers integrated above. HEWITT is supporting the success of this project through integrated landscape architecture to shape Lakefront Blocks’ identity on the southern edge of Lake Union and to situate the project within the South Lake Union neighborhood and greater Seattle context.
Along the project’s northern edge, the Valley Street frontage features a artfully-crafted “boardwalk” that is raised to foreshorten the view of the lake across Lake Union Park. Office-level roof terraces on two buildings facing Lake Union are immersive environments crafted to mimic lake edge beaches. Cues from lake edge appear in the use of bioretention planters as grounding elements throughout the campus.
Two pedestrian corridors connect the activity of Mercer Street which include a layer of understory trees and additional pedestrian setback from the busy street edge. The active Terry Avenue corridor draws pedestrians towards Lake Union Park and MOHAI and features a stylized “logjam” with opportunities to linger in afternoon sunshine. A lushly planted, quiet Boren Avenue offers a contrasting pedestrian experience with ample seating and views out to the Lake.
On the site’s western boundary, Fairview Avenue is calmed by a cascade of bioretention planters that collect and filter stormwater while providing visual appeal.