The six-story, 50,000 square-foot building located at the intersection of Capitol Hill and the Central District in Seattle, seeks to meet the ambitious goals of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most strenuous benchmark for sustainability. The Center for Energy and Urban Ecology, a living laboratory for research and education, is located on the first floor of the building, ground floor tenants for the future. Leasing space is still available on Floors 2 and 3 for your enterprise.
Bullitt Foundation president Denis Hayes found another way to look at the building from the top-down: “Anyone asked to describe the Bullitt Center is likely to begin with its large, visually arresting roof. To capture enough solar energy to power a six-story building in cloudy Seattle, an expansive roof is essential. The roof is also a collecting basin to capture rainwater to store seasonally in a huge cistern. This functional design provides a striking architectural signature for the building—it is as regionally appropriate in its own way as adobe or stilts.
Beauty was no mere afterthought to Jason F. McLennan and Eden Bruckman, authors of the Living Building Challenge. Both had seen plenty of ugly structures that met very high environmental performance standards, and they knew that unsightly design would not inspire a successful movement.
The LBC authors also knew that “beauty” could not simply be mandated. Beyond a series of generalized principles, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
“In important ways, the LBC’s beauty is a celebration of the same elegant simplicity found in Apple’s iPad and Air,” wrote Hayes, “Aesthetics were not compromised in these devices in pursuit of superb functionality. Rather, a sleek, elegant beauty emerged as the consequence of an uncompromising search for the best possible user experience achieved as efficiently as possible. Like living buildings, these devices minimize the use of materials and energy.”
So beginning with this week’s grand opening daily tours are being offered led by project experts from the the Urban Ecology Partnership – a collaboration between the University of Washington Integrated Design Lab, Cascadia Green Building Council and the Bullitt Foundation.
The tours will include time in the building’s exhibition space, mechanical and electrical rooms, and the building’s ‘irresistable’ stair. Tours are held at 4pm, Monday – Friday by appointment only, and are limited to 20 people per day.
If you are interested in reserving space on a tour, or reserving a group tour, please send an email to UEP@uw.edu.