Neighborhood Design-Build Studio

Gateways and Waiting Shelter - Spring 2006

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Site

Mt. Baker Village Apartments
29th Ave. S. and S. McClellan St., Seattle

Context

The history of the Mt. Baker Housing Association begins as the history of a redevelopment project. The Mt. Baker Housing Association was formed in January 1988, as a non-profit organization that would own and oversee the renovation of the Mt. Baker Village Apartments complex.

The complex was built in the late 1950's and was called the Stadium View, because Sick's Baseball Stadium, the location of the Seattle Rainiers baseball team stood at Rainier Avenue S. and S. McClellan Street, where the Lowe's hardware store is now. The apartments overlooked the stadium and residents on the west side of the buildings could actually watch the games.

During the 1980's, the complex was suffering from poor maintenance and overcrowding. It had 180 apartments, including many studios and one bedroom units, but housed over 1000 people in extended families. Many of the residents were Southeast Asian refugees from Viet Nam and Cambodia. The Mt. Baker neighborhood was increasingly distressed about the living conditions at the apartments, and their concerns got the City of Seattle involved.

March of 1988 the City purchased the property from the private owner and sold it to the newly formed Mt. Baker Housing Association. Rehabilitation began on the nine-building complex in November 1988, and was completed in April 1990. It now contains 144 units that range in size from one to 4 bedrooms. Residents pay 30% of their income as rent with the remainder subsidized under Section 8 of the Federal Housing Act. Many of the residents who resided at the apartments prior to the renovations were able to return to the complex, and many of them remain there today.

The Mt. Baker Village Apartments is undergoing a large rehabilitation/repair program, which will take most of 2006 to complete. The planned work includes removal and replacement of defective Weyerhaeuser siding, replacement of defective Milgard windows, rebuilding stairwells, replacing plumbing and roofing, street and sidewalk repair, landscaping repair/replacement and repainting the building exteriors. As a part of the work program, the waiting shelter outside each of the 9 buildings and the bus shelter at the entrance of the complex need to be replaced.

Program

A new bus shelter at the entrance to the housing complex and four gateway structures for four of the apartment buildings.

Design

Taking advantage of the metal shop and fabrication space in the studio, the class prefabricated all the columns and the roof structures. The columns were powdercoated before delivery to the site. The 4 waiting shelters are simply constructed using a bypass framing system and the bus shelter is more expressive, scaled to the busy street activity on McClellan.