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Design Review

See also: 

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Design Review is one of the tools we use to create a better city. It gives our planners, residents, and the professional volunteers serving on the Design Review Boards a voice in the design of most new multifamily and commercial buildings. These participants in the design review process consider a broad set of design considerations and apply design guidelines that the architect must use to design the exterior of the building. Their guidance and recommendations help us promote designs that fit into and relate to the surrounding neighborhoods. They also offers flexibility with the code standards to achieve better designs.

Our Design Review Program and its boards review most private development projects in Seattle. We review multiple aspects of a building and its site, including some of the following:

  • The overall appearance of the building
  • How your proposal relates to adjacent sites and the overall street frontage
  • How your proposal relates to unusual aspects of the site, like views or slopes
  • Pedestrian and vehicular access to the site
  • Quality of materials, open space, and landscaping

We hold public meetings for full Design Review that includes review by City staff and the Design Review Boards. Our review process includes an opportunity for public comment and involvement. You may request a "departure" from the Land Use Code as part of your proposal. Be sure to consult the design guidelines that apply specifically to your project.


Greenfire Campus - a Great Design Review Example

Design Review Great Examples - Greenfire Campus is one example you'll find in our gallery.

Design Review Program Improvements

Our Design Review Program Improvements effort is underway to identify, evaluate, and implement organizational, structural, and procedural changes to revamp and refresh our Design Review Program. Visit our Design Review Program Improvements page for additional information about the open houses and to sign up for email updates.

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  • Visit our Applicant Services Center
    700 5th Avenue, 20th floor
    M, W, F: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    T, Th: 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    (arrive before 2:00 p.m. for walk-in service)