Thursday, August 20, 2015

Calling All Artists! - Reinventing Microhousing Part II

We need your input - Artist Survey!

We recently started design for ArtWorks, our latest design + development effort since completing our award winning Marion Green Townhomes. Artworks explores the intersection of affordability with livable communities.  We are continuing our earlier work on micro-housing, this time to serve the needs of the local artist community.

As Seattle struggles with affordability within the urban center there is a clear need to provide affordable housing for artists. There are various models for that to happen, including subsidized housing (slow and limited funding available) and co-op housing (difficult to coordinate financially and legally), but these models will never come close to meeting demand. The Artspsace program, for example, currently has a waiting list of over 1000 people for their 150 units. The model that our firm is exploring with Artworks is based on a congregate residence similar to what we designed for the Yobi Apartments, where each individual rents a small, affordable personal live/work space and enjoys access to a larger communal creative space. Artists are a group that both needs affordable housing and could benefit from a communal living arrangement that brings artists together to share work, ideas, events, and creative foment.

The Artworks site is located across the street from the Artspace Hiawatha Lofts at South Charles Street and Hiawatha Place South in the lower Central District.  This map shows some of the neighboring art facilities and institutions that will be part of the network of resources available to Artworks tenants:

The building is composed of 33 sleeping units over 3 floors plus a daylight basement. Each resident will enjoy a storage loft in their unit, a common kitchen on each floor, and a main floor commons including a lounge, kitchen and laundry. The street level space is dedicated for a tenant that can provide a facility that would provide an amenity useful to working artists.  At this time, we are hoping to find an organization that focuses on some aspect of digital arts, such as a computer lab, maker space, 3d printing and fabrication, or other related facility.  We are willing to provide space at below market rent in exchange for finding tenant that is a good fit and can be of use to our tenants. Please contact our office if you or an organization you know may be interested in renting the space when the project is complete.  

In addition to looking for a tenant partner from within the arts community, we are seeking feedback from the creative community and area stakeholders on the current Artworks proposal. Artists, please tell us what you think and share this survey with others who might be interested in the Artworks project.

Follow-up: Unit sizes range from small basement units at around 150sf to lofted units ranging from 200-300sf.  Small units are expected to rent for around $700/mo.  Lofted units are expected to rent from $850-$1000/mo.  If the city follows the HALA recommendations and changes the rules to allow congregate housing to participate the Multi-Family Tax Exemption program, seven units would have rents capped at $620/mo.


  1. I would like to see more outdoor garden space, like a rooftop garden area. Those are small spaces. All spaces should be designed with a bedroom alcove, can you do this in 150 SF?

    1. Most of the units have a loft, so the bed can be put up above, freeing up floor space for however people want to use it. The loft makes a huge difference in livability.

  2. Unless you provide parking, this plan is unworkable. Most artists need a vehicle.

  3. Parking on a site this small isn't possible. We are looking into options to rent spaces in nearby buildings.

  4. Artists need parking for themselves and their guests, I agree this is unworkable without a plan for parking.


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