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September 10, 2009

Bravern aims to create a sense of place

  • Grand proportions and smaller spaces combine to create the feel of a European village.
  • By GARY WAKATSUKI and MICHAEL LEE
    Callison

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    Wakatsuki

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    Lee

    The inspiration to create a one-of-a-kind lifestyle center in the heart of Bellevue began with a trip around the world to visit landmark destinations in 27 cities across North America and Europe.

    With tape measures and notebooks in hand, teams from Callison and Schnitzer West, the developer, set out to examine everything from the dimensions of sidewalk cafes on the streets of Paris to the grand plazas of the Rockefeller Center in New York City.

    Armed with hands-on research on some of the most memorable retail destinations in the world, the design team identified four key attributes that guided the design vision of The Bravern: a sense of place, integration with the community, timeless quality and an authentic spirit of hospitality.

    Sense of place

    Photo by Rodrigo DeMedeiros
    The Bravern’s shops and restaurants surround open-air “living rooms,” which include large fireplaces, public seating and places for art and music.

    More than just a retail center, offices or residences, The Bravern is characterized by a series of connected environments designed to foster vibrant energy and establish a sense of community as visitors move through the spaces. Strategically located at the Interstate 405 gateway of Bellevue’s downtown core, the project serves as the hub of the city’s retail and cultural district, linking the Meydenbauer Convention Center, City Hall, Bellevue Transit Center and neighboring residential developments.

    Upon entering one of the two arrival courts, visitors are greeted by an intimate open-air village setting with elegant outdoor public seating areas surrounded by luxury retail shops, terraces for public gatherings, al fresco dining and lush landscaping.

    Making connections

    Cascading gardens, open-air plazas, meandering pathways and public spaces throughout the project foster physical and visual connections to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and are designed to provide a pleasing pedestrian experience.

    Public “living rooms,” many with large fireplaces, are placed throughout the exterior and interior of the project to provide space for art and music performances and community gatherings.

    Architectural variety

    Based on classical and timeless design principals, The Bravern’s architecture blends traditional aesthetics with contemporary lines, materials and textures.

    Photo by Jon Silver
    Cascading gardens, plazas, meandering pathways and public spaces throughout the project are designed to provide a pleasing pedestrian experience.

    Designed to host a diverse array of tenants and integrate high-end retail amenities, public gathering spaces, high-rise offices and condominiums, The Bravern balances grand proportions with a series of smaller spaces to create a European village-quality sense of scale and intimacy.

    Architectural variety and distinction for each area was achieved through the use of architectural precast, honed stone and plaster to create a solid framework juxtaposed with glass and metal two-story storefronts.

    Arches, cornices and revealed pilasters scaled at various heights in a clean and simple structure are intended to create a timeless architectural backdrop. Bronze metalwork and light fixtures, along with lush landscaping and artwork create the ambience of a modern-day village.


    Gary Wakatsuki is a principal and Michael Lee is a senior project designer at Callison, whose services for The Bravern included master planning, architectural design, branding, graphic design, interior design and tenant planning.


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