Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Developers: Daniels Real Estate; Stockbridge Real Estate
Designers: ZGF Architects; Phillippe Starck; Ron Wright & Associates
Site Size: 23 acres (9.3 ha)
The Mark is downtown Seattle’s skinniest high-rise, built on a quarter block and only 15,000 square feet (1,393 sq m) on the ground floor. The site was difficult to develop because it abuts both the historic Rainier Club and the country’s oldest Byzantine-style church. To solve this dilemma, a megabrace structure was used for the tower, which allows the core to be smaller, shifting the load to the exterior walls of the building.
The developers purchased the air rights over the Rainier Club, and the megabrace structure enabled the tower to gently cantilever out over the historic structures by about 20 feet (6 m) before gently sloping back toward the center of the building. The Mark is built to withstand a 2,475-year 9.0 earthquake, and the use of a megabrace system is novel for a tower built in a high-seismic region.
After selling its air rights, the Rainier Club used the revenue of the sale for capital improvements to its 1904 landmark structure. Developers also preserved the church, turning it into the premier event space in Seattle. The tower incorporates the church through allowing the church’s exterior wall to serve as one wall in the Mark’s lobby, as well as using the sanctuary as event space for the hotel located in the tower. Rooftop space on the sanctuary also serves as a home for four beehives, which provide honey for the hotel’s restaurant and contribute to the stability of the surrounding ecosystem. Tech company F5 has leased all of the Mark’s office space. The Mark shows that it is possible to both preserve the old and build the new in an integrated fashion.