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October 26, 2017

Survey: Lemons Architecture

Image from Lemons Architecture [enlarge]
Beacon Crossing, a development across from Beacon Hill’s light rail station, will have apartments and two restaurants.

Specialty: Mixed-use and multifamily architecture

Management: Jonathan Lemons, principal and architect; Ben Bedell, associate and project architect; Daru Shi, project architect

Founded: 2014

Headquarters: Seattle

2016 revenues: N/A

Projected 2017 revenues: N/A

Projects: Beacon Crossing, a mixed-use building across from Beacon Hill’s light rail station; Fremont Urban, a mixed-use building terracing its apartments back from the street and anchoring its corner with a restaurant; Fremont Green, two mid-rise apartment buildings built with Cor-ten panels, black standing seam metal panels, cedar and white metal balconies

Principal Jonathan Lemons answered questions about trends and issues in the industry.

Q: You are a relatively new firm. What is your background?

A: I’ve worked in Seattle the past decade and was lucky enough to be an architect at two really great offices before we started this firm. Working at HyBrid and Runberg, I had some great mentors and opportunities creating urban architecture, mixed-use and multifamily buildings in Seattle with great developers and organizations. I love architecture and drawing and we are happy to be part of what is happening with Seattle’s growth. We have been fortunate to build a great team here working with a couple of clients on their great projects. It’s been a good challenge and a lot of fun.

Q: What are the trends in your industry and your company locally?

A: Creating density and affordability for sustainable urban housing models has been our push. We are interested in delivering affordable and efficient models of housing that are thoughtfully designed to help create sustainable urban growth as Seattle densifies. Parking requirement reductions combined with mass transit expansion have also been key to making that work for our clients’ projects and the city’s increasing population.

Q: How might a second Amazon headquarters affect the local AE industry?

A: It could definitely affect it, but it is a good decision by the company to expand beyond a single, primary host city as the company is growing rapidly. Amazon’s growth has already created so much job growth for other industries and companies in Seattle. They have also brought many people and their families to this city. They have helped densify a previously underused part of the center of the city and strengthened Lake Union connections. Now that those buildings are filling in with restaurants and other businesses, it’s great to watch the street level transformations. It will be fun to see what they have in store for the coming decade as their company grows here and beyond.

Q: What can engineers, designers, developers and government do to make Seattle more livable and sustainable?

A: Seattle has been gifted with great urban growth from amazing companies and a natural environment where people want to live and work. If we continue to create and incentivize dense and sustainable models of urban living and working for our city, more people will move and stay here. Encouraging growth in and near the center will be paramount. Seattle’s topography will be a challenge of course, but it makes for some really inspiring buildings, dynamic views and a unique city.

Q: How are rising land costs in Seattle affecting what gets built?

A: It has created a need for more efficient and affordable buildings as the cost per square foot totals rise for construction, land values, rents and sales. Efficiency from an energy standpoint, a land use perspective, and other ratios associated with creating a viable building from start to finish are all important. As a part of that, we are seeing a push towards slightly smaller models of urban housing, a lesser dependence on cars due to their costs for a project and urban consumer needs, and an overall push by the industry for everyone to deliver better urban architecture solutions. The architectural character of each project we create is important for us, the clients and the public. It’s been a lot of fun to participate in that process as the city grows.

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