Key Players

Owner/Developer Vulcan Real Estate

Lead Design Firm ZGF Architects LLP

General Contractor GLY Construction

Structural Engineering Coughlin Porter Lundeen

Mechanical and Plumbing Engineering Hermanson Co. LLP

Civil Engineering Coughlin Porter Lundeen

The $91-million Block 44 project, located in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, consists of two office buildings—one five stories and the other six stories—for a total of 380,700 sq ft. There is also 15,000 sq ft of street-level retail over an underground parking garage.

The exterior spandrel panels, mostly framed by metal studs, were prefabricated in a shop set up on site. Sheathing and fluid-applied weather barriers were installed in the shop. The team used building information modeling to help lay out, fabricate and construct the exterior panels.

A glass canopy provides shelter from the elements without blocking natural light. On overcast days, 100 twinkling lights mimic fireflies at dusk.

The building has a rooftop terrace with tiered seating for better views of Lake Union.

On track for LEED Gold certification, sustainable elements include interior daylighting, mechanical heat recovery, natural ventilation, green roofs, rainwater harvesting and onsite rain gardens.

During construction, workers diverted dirty water through treatment tanks for cleaning before pumping it back into Lake Union. That resulted in saving $750,000 over the estimated discharge rates into storm sewers over a six-month period.

Construction, which took 18 months, was completed in September of last year.

Challenges overcome by the Block 44 team included energy code updates, unusual geometry and difficult site conditions.

Because Block 44 lies on a congested site, project workers also had to consider pedestrians, traffic and nearby operating businesses, which received monthly bulletins and closure notices.

“What we got was the best value and best design, not to mention the best energy performance of any similar size building in our portfolio,” says Jim Broadlick, Vulcan senior director of design and construction.