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September 1, 1999
By CLAIR ENLOW
Special to the Journal
As the southwest shore of Lake Union trends steadily upscale, those hip-roofed hangouts of the Seventies and Eighties stand along the waterfront like a flock of albatross. But one of them is here to stay, with a new skin, some additional dormers and a very different outlook.
Renovation of the former restaurant's second level demonstrates there is life after singles bars. The look is environmentally sensitive, urbane and very Seattle.
When six longtime partners in maritime business decided to locate their offices together, they embarked on a voyage of discovery and collaboration with architects of Studio Jaso. Though they are all nearing retirement age, they wanted to continue their working lives in an informal and collegial place of their own.
Circulation patterns in the new offices are defined by hard floor surfaces and subtle ramps.|
Project: Offices for a maritime company, Fairview Avenue North, South Lake Union
In the renovated space, partners offices are arranged around the perimeter of the second floor. To create more space and open the entire floor to more natural light, the project includes a dormer addition on the east side. That extension makes way for a new reception area.
In addition to partner offices, there are five additional offices, a new kitchen and two conference areas. The renovation includes a new lobby for the building and a board room on the first floor. The rest of the first floor is leased to a catering company.
The upstairs suite of rooms is bathed with natural light, open to direct and screened views and richly layered with art and natural materials
"It's like living in the work of art," said partner Fred Goldberg, who worked closely with the design team creating a concept for the offices.
Client Fred Goldberg enjoys his new environment, sitting in an area known as "the lodge." The space provides an informal gathering place for visitors and company partners.|
Behind the lodge, a ramp leads down to an open corridor that serves the partners' offices. The renovation has deftly exploited the varying floor levels of the existing second floor, providing an important element of privacy to the offices and adding a dimension to the interior landscape.
A window wall alternates framed marina views with the watery patterns of handmade glass.|
Photos courtesy of Studio Jaso
With the delicate balance of openness, visual screening and acoustical privacy, the partners can come and go, working apart or visiting each other as they often do. After nearly a year in the new offices, no one seems any closer to retirement.
The reasons for this might be found in the view from Goldberg's woodcraft rocker, which includes the inviting, light-washed screen wall and lodge on one side and the marina and city on the other. If life is a continuing trade off between rest and responsibility, this may be one place to find the right balance.