The new 10,000 square foot Belltown Collective, designed by Robert Hutchison Architecture (RHA), is located on the ground floor and basement level of an early 20th century storefront building at 2231 1st Ave, in what was once Egbert’s furniture showroom. Developers evolution Projects hired RHA to redesign the space.
Architect Robert Hutchison explains, “When designing a tenant improvement project, I like to work with the existing space as much as possible.” Subtraction, rather than addition, was the main design theme. Two existing load-bearing walls run the length of the area, establishing three linear yet distinct rooms. Symmetrical openings were cut into these walls at even intervals, increasing permeability by allowing for greater flow of traffic between the rooms, as well as creating an updated open office layout with flexible space arrangement. At 9 feet high, drywall and other finished have been removed from the upper portions of the bearing walls to expose the wood studs and ceiling joists. Daylight now filters between the rooms and the exposed studs cast dramatic shadows on the white walls.
“The datum line between new and old is rigorously applied throughout the entire space,” says Hutchison. Strategically placed ramps allow for seamless accessibility between the three different rooms, each on a different level, following the grade of the sidewalk. New plywood flooring and custom steel handrails provide a tailored detail, while complimenting the original wood ceiling and perimeter concrete party walls. The color palette is limited to white, black, red, and gray, referencing a Mondrian painting.
Robert Hutchison Architecture design team
Robert Hutchison, lead architect
Scott Claassen, design team
Siyu Qu, design team
Wenjing Zhang, design team
Robert Hutchison Architecture (architecture)
Metis Construction (contractor)
evolution Projects (client)
Swenson Say Faget (structural engineer)
Lucrecia Blanca, Blanca Lighting Design (lighting consultant)