4D Architects

Specialty: Single-family residential projects, some of which are in environmentally critical areas

Management: Barbara Pickens, president; Ben Mulder, vice president

Year founded: 1985

Headquarters: Kirkland

Current projects: 25 single-family homes for the Suncadia/Tumble Creek development in Roslyn; 4Dís new green office in Kirkland

Photo courtesy 4D Architects
Kirklandís 4D Architects is designing 25 homes for the Suncadia Tumble Creek development in Roslyn.

4D Architects walks its talk. The architectural firm designed its own office building in Kirkland to green standards.

The building has an abundance of eco-friendly features, including a parking garage covered with green roofs so that less runoff leaves the site, said Barbara Pickens, firm president. That landscaping also cuts down on exposed concrete so less radiant heat goes into the environment.

The building design includes a dual boiler for heat and hot water, and outdoor trellises for plants to block the sunís heat. Also, the company is doing without air conditioning in the portion of the building it occupies in favor of natural ventilation. However, there is air conditioning on the main floor, which it intends to lease out.

The firm worked with Seattle Lighting Design Lab in designing the daylighting components of the building, including a three-story solar-heated lobby and daylighting of work space.

4D moved in last August, but is still putting the finishing touches on its new home.

ďItís still a work in progress, but itís delightful to be here,Ē said Pickens.

Green homes

4D uses green principles in designing homes, such as making sure rooms residents are located in get the most sun. It does this while locating those spaces where the good views are and the noises arenít, Pickens said.

The company does custom homes, working with developer-builders and homeowners. In residential design, Pickens sees a trend toward high-quality finishes and away from formal spaces toward more casual and livable spaces.

For instance, homes may be designed with media rooms instead of living rooms. Or a common hallway outside a secondary bedroom may now include study spaces where youngsters can do their homework.

Additionally, more homeowners want to bring the outside in. To get that effect, 4D creates covered outdoor living spaces adjacent to family gathering areas and connects the two with large doorways.

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