In September 2015, we participated in the Seattle Design Festival and launched The People's Choice Awards in Urban Design Excellence. The objectives for hosting the People’s Choice Urban Design Awards were threefold:
Before voting, we asked the public to consider key principles of urban design as criteria to evaluate the projects. We also believe it is important to recognize and praise the many architects and developers that are going through the design review process and doing great work in our communities!
Our Design Review Program staff started with a list of 160 Design Review projects that were completed over the past three years. We sorted projects into three categories: highrise, midrise, and lowrise. We then went through several selection rounds to identify exemplary projects, based on the Council-adopted Design Guidelines. We developed a short list of approximately 80 projects and a final list of 9 projects per category.
We then asked people to reflect on design and development in Seattle and explore what constitutes an exemplary Design Review Project. We invited everyone to vote for the project in each category that they felt demonstrated design excellence. People voted at the 2015 Seattle Design Festival and via an online survey.
We were very excited to receive over 1,400 votes in the People’s Choice competition, and we are pleased to announce the winning buildings.
Urban Design is the careful and conscious design of our buildings, public spaces, and landscape, and how these promote sustainable lifestyles and safe, dynamic communities. As Seattle changes and grows, the thoughtful design and development of our built and natural environment is more critical than ever.
Below are some key principles for positive Urban Design that are universal. Specific regions, cities, and neighborhoods add more details relevant to their unique conditions, often in the form of a development code or Design Guidelines.
Respond to Physical Context & Site Features
Reinforce the Public Realm & Public Life
High Quality Building Concept, Design, Materials, & Execution
The intent of the Early Design Guidance (EDG) packet is to demonstrate your sincere exploration of the context and site in this early phase as you are developing design options. We have an EDG Checklist to help you prepare and assemble a meaningful packet that clearly documents and communicates your efforts to Seattle DCI, the Design Review Board, and the community.
We have compiled an assortment of graphic examples from past projects that were particularly successful at clearly and succinctly communicating the site and massing information. Below is a sampling of these exemplary packets divided by each content section. Please keep in mind that these were developed for specific sites and projects, so you need to develop an approach best suited to your project. Our hope is that sharing these ideas and graphic strategies will help you consider how to convey your project's site and massing in the most efficient and effective manner.
The intent of the Recommendation packet is to demonstrate how your design has responded to the earlier guidance and present an architectural design. We have a Recommendation Checklist to help you prepare and assemble a meaningful packet that clearly documents and communicates your efforts to Seattle DCI, the Design Review Board, and the community.
We have compiled an assortment of graphic examples from past projects that were particularly successful at clearly and succinctly communicating the design information. Below is a sampling of these exemplary packets divided by each content section. Please keep in mind that these were developed for specific sites and projects, so you need to develop an approach best suited to your project. Our hope is sharing these ideas and graphic strategies will help you consider how to convey your project's design in the most efficient and effective manner.
The Citywide Design Guidelines are organized around three themes: Context and Site, Public Life, and Design Concept. Each of these themes contain several guidelines, along with related strategies and approaches for achieving the guidelines.
We have created a gallery of photographs that visually convey the intent of each of these guidelines. Please click on the links below to explore any of the themes. As you scroll over the photos, the title of each guideline appears. By clicking on any of the photos, you can read about the related strategies and approaches.
The full version of the Seattle Design Guidelines, Downtown Design Guidelines, and Neighborhood-Specific Design Guidelines are on the Design Guidelines page.
Every site has a context. Each project contributes to, and is part of, the greater context that defines the character of the city.
Guidelines within this section are intended to shape buildings that:
The amount and quality of public life is one measure of a community’s livability. Seattle’s success in creating a walkable, active, attractive city is fundamental to a sustainable future.
A strong design concept is more than the sum of its parts. A well-designed building and its open spaces are essential components of a livable and sustainable city.
Successful development in our downtown neighborhoods considers these elements:
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