Point Wells Re-envisioned

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Client: City of Woodway, WA

Point Wells, WA

BACKGROUND

The town of Woodway is an affluent suburban community of 1,300 people overlooking Puget Sound, just north of Seattle, Washington. Located within easy commuting distance to Seattle, a developer has been seeking to build a $1 billion mixed-use community containing over 2,000 residential units on the site of a former oil storage and refining facility located on Puget Sound, just beyond Woodway’s town border.

CLIENT’S NEEDS

The town of Woodway was concerned that the developer’s design—utilizing dozens of 12-20 story towers—would not fit within their community, and would be visible from the town, blocking residents’ views. As a result, the town asked Soluri Architecture to reimagine the developer’s project with buildings of a lower height, but higher density so as not to reduce the total number of residential units. The town would then present this scheme to the developer to proactively show that it was possible to achieve their overall goal of 2,000 units, and do so in a manner that was considerate to the town.

DESIGN PROCESS & INTENT

Our design process began by analyzing the pre-existing natural conditions before the oil refinery and storage facility had been built. We determined that the area had been a tidal salt marsh, and then researched how this ecosystem works, so we could naturally re-establish the salt marsh within the new development. We created a series of diagrams and charts showing how the tidal flows and ecosystem could be reestablished within the site, and then designed the masterplan around this restored environment. The location of buildings was chosen based on what would have the least impact on the salt marsh; townhouses were located closest to the shoreline, with buildings of increasing height placed further back. This strategy allowed for a gradual buildup of density, while also maximizing views of Puget Sound from the units.

FINAL PROJECT

Soluri Architecture developed the concept, master plan, and a presentation rendering for this 2,000-unit project in one month. The master plan is based on reestablishing the original tidal salt marshes and integrating them into a walkable, mixed-use development with an increased density. Building heights gradually increase from townhouses along the waterline, and are capped at 100 feet in height so as not to be visible from the town of Woodway. The final project was well-received by the community, was presented to the developer for consideration, and even received several mentions in the local press.