The historic William Tell Building in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle was once a grand hotel for visiting movie directors and actors. The building had been neglected and was in need of extensive repairs as the new owners transitioned it from small studio apartments to a hostel. Boxwood worked closely with owners Gibraltar and Hostel Seattle through the entire transformation of this building, including as-built drawings and field investigation, design development, all permit and change of use documentation, interior material recommendations, ADA compliance, historical research, and construction administration. The owners recruited 40 local artists to create original murals in each of the hostel rooms and feature rotating art exhibits throughout the building.
The William Tell Building Renovation was selected for a 2010 Preservation Award by Historic Seattle in the Preserving Neighborhood Character category.
As part of this project, Boxwood worked closely with the new owners of this historic brick building in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, Gibraltar LLC, and the building’s existing and new tenants as the building underwent exterior improvements. An updated color was selected for the trim, and historic warehouse lettering was selected for painted signage representing each tenant, as well as graphics directing pedestrians to the building’s lower level, accessible through the alley. Boxwood successfully balanced the needs of multiple clients while assisting the building owner in a revitalization of their property with a design process that was cost effective and able to be completed in phases. The result is a more visible street presence for numerous local small businesses, as well as an improvement in the streetscape of this beloved Seattle neighborhood.
UNIVERSITY VILLAGE, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
At first it seems so simple: It’s just a box…a really big box. At 95’ x 50’ x 20’, it is a shell of reclaimed, weathered wood slats. A screen made up of 5/4” x 6” boards, it hovers over the building’s weather proof walls, waiting to reveal what’s beneath the surface and hiding inside.
BoomBox comes with just one rule: No wood can be added or subtracted; no additional shell can be created and none can be eliminated.
To accommodate that rule your BoomBox comes with a set of tools to customize it. In order to seamlessly blend the exterior shell with the interior program, the wood slats can be pulled apart, stacked together, slid open, rolled up, and lifted out. This allows the box to move, revealing glass and concrete, creating openings and establishing new mass, but the box always remains intact.
Conceptually the pieces could fit back together. The flaps could fold in on the holes, the drawers could slide closed, and the BoomBox could return to a deceptively simple box, ready to be recreated with an infinite number of possibilities.
SKIN AND SKELETON
Breaking the BoomBox into shifting elements creates opportunities for new spaces in reaction to the movement. Gaps created by sliding a piece out like a drawer are filled with glazing – floor to ceiling windows and skylights – highlighting the absence of mass where the shell was cut apart and manipulated and allowing passers by to see clear through the building.
To create a shading trellis a portion of the slatted wall swings out from the bottom of the box as if on hinges, revealing transparency with glass where the wall used to be. Shifting parts of the shell vertically - by expanding the space between slats, or horizontally - by sliding them apart or swinging them out, exposes the structure, a skeleton of glass and concrete braced with steel.
By rotating every other board and sliding the assembly upward we can create a richly textured wall and a place where windows and doors can be located.
Where the box has expanded and contracted small pockets of space remain forming lush green landscaped beds that soften the façade and are visible from nearly every part of the restaurant and bar inside.
A private outdoor dining area and patio is created by swinging open and spreading apart pieces of the BoomBox and covering a portion of the area with a version of an exo-skeleton – a glass roof supported by steel columns. To screen this area from the parking lot a 3’ tall concrete water wall pushes up from the sidewalk. Water running down the sides of the slab is captured in a small pool in the outdoor dining area, supporting the growth of bamboo sprouts that stretch upward to add additional privacy for the diners. On the public side of the fountain the water spreads gently across a section of slightly sloping sidewalk, collecting in a grate at the base of a concrete bench near the parking area to be re-circulated into the fountain. This ‘water patio’ is lined on the south with a lush strip of vine maples that provide dappled shade for the bench in the summer and grasses that add interest year around.
RACHEL'S GINGER BEER
PIKE PLACE MARKET, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Utilizing as much of the existing space as possible Boxwood retrofitted this space on Post Alley in the Pike Place Market. The large center table was designed to store cases of bottles, simple stools and reclaimed wood tables surround the perimeter. The red painted window wall into the corridor was refinished with black paint and the concrete floor was cleaned and sealed. A custom casework sales counter and bench along the Post Alley window wall, a tile kitchen and a new toilet room with a partially fritted glass door finish the space.
WINE BAR AND RETAIL STORE | STUDY
Boxwood was asked to develop a concept for a wine bar and retail store for the Washington State Convention Center featuring wines from the Pacific Northwest. The location of the space is at the bottom of the escalators on the ground floor which has many eyes on it throughout the day and evening.
We are attempting to create a tasting room that feels as if it were located on an exterior sidewalk while providing the comfort of a climate controlled space. It is the goal of the overall design to bring the customer in and hold them long enough to see the wine list and tasting menu and make them want to stay. After that the space will continue to reveal its design and detail – the closer one gets the better it looks. It will be as attractive in daylight hours as it is after sunset through dramatic lighting. The tasting bar features a red and white wine Cruvinet system for glass pours. Behind the tasting bar is a climate controlled retail store for bottle purchases. Seating includes two and four top tables and a stools at the tasting bar which is supported by a reclaimed barrel stave slat wall. Large panel displays roll through images of Northwest wineries and a bottle wall highlights labels from 130 regional wineries.
RETAIL STORE AND DEMONSTRATION KITCHEN | STUDY
Boxwood developed this concept for a retail store that sells products created by Seattle Central and South College students. Available will be wine from Northwest Wine Academy, baked goods, cheeses, charcuterie, gelato, readymade meals, and green house raised herb and vegetable plants from Seattle Culinary Academy, and furniture from the Wood Technology Center. Punctuating SCA’s sustainability driven programs is a partnership with the Nature Conservancy to provide educational displays on water and land conservation initiatives involving food systems.
This space located on a prominent Capitol Hill corner will provide the colleges with a highly visible retail venue for the products the students make. A much needed demonstration kitchen will be home to advanced classes offered by the Seattle Culinary Academy and it will be available for rent. The facility will provide students with the opportunity to create marketing strategies, products, selling strategies and packaging. It will also allow them to manage inventories, sanitation, product quality and pricing strategies. All of this enhances their education by providing real world experiences while increasing the positive exposure of each of the college programs.
REININGER TASTING ROOM
NICHOLAS COLE CELLARS
WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON
Winemaker Mike Neuffer of Nicholas Cole Cellars, wanting a presence in downtown Walla Walla, chose to place a tasting room in an old art deco building on Main Street. The historic wedge shaped building, featuring a rounded wall of full height windows, was designed to fit on an angled lot at the corner of a five-way intersection. Boxwood designed and built an expansive curved barrel stave wall inside the tasting room. Warm tones of variegated wood, stained from years of holding aging wine, wrap around the wall, stretching across the length of the tasting room. Exposed structural beams radiate across the ceiling and a smaller barrel stave piece finishes the front of the long, granite tasting bar. Rotating art exhibits, muted wall colors and a dark, glossy floor add elegance and sophistication to the space.
Located on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pine Street under a historical weathered copper awning will be a new flagship Victrola café The new location is part of the main entrance to the upper floors of the Macy’s building where offices are planned.
Victrola wants an elevated experience, a place where one can sit and enjoy a cup of pour-over coffee, or a glass of wine yet, still grab a latte or espresso and go if in a hurry for a meeting upstairs. Ceilings are concrete and high above the floor. The long, low, off-grid coffee bar clad in stainless steel and Richlite, displays aquamarine colored coffee bags cut into its framework. A blackened steel flat bar railing rises above the back bar doubling as a place for slide-in menu signage and display shelves. Behind the railing is a glass wall, ‘VICTROLA’ fritted into the glass, separating the café from the training café. On the right, is a full wall graphic of the Victrola horn in black on a cream colored wall.
Down the center if the café is a long stool height, two sided counter fabricated in blackened steel and stainless, its top sliced in half with the aquamarine glow of hidden LED lights and lit from above with low hanging, mini horn pendant lights.
Café tables are located under a warm wood soffit along the sidewalk windows and soft seating is just a few steps down in the café lounge.