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 weatherproof 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.