Features We Love: Activated Spaces

More than just a pretty space.

We are privileged to design some of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful spaces. But we think the prettiest sight is seeing the environments we design being used, lived in, and loved. Whether resident, student, owner, pedestrian, or employee, it’s human touch that brings these spaces to life and makes them special.

In this corporate campus refresh in north Seattle, great emphasis was put on creating engaging, exciting, and flexible outdoor spaces that enhanced the employee experience.

Drawing inspiration from a neighboring regional walking and biking trail, outdoor areas were designed to be reflective of the Pacific Northwest. At the building’s main entrance, visitors are welcomed by a large entry plaza adorned with various spaces to collaborate, mingle, or relax for lunch. Situated on either side of the plaza are two expansive, beautiful living walls. Proper irrigation of each plant pocket built into the wall included a drainage system beneath the walls designed to catch residual runoff. Included as a calming element, a recirculating pond is a main feature at the edge of the space.

The pond also supplies water to two unique basalt column elements located in the center of the plaza. At first glance, these long, flat columns appear to be just another space to sit. But upon closer inspection, a thin film of water can be seen flowing from the columns, onto the ground. Contained by a slight bowl-like grading, this water feature was designed to circulate and flow around the space at such a low level that employees could take meetings in these areas without going for an accidental swim.

The expansive front lawn was dubbed “the big green.” Intentionally left as a wide-open space, the lawn is intended to be a flexible environment where employees can have picnics, host staff events, or even play lawn games.

Food truck access off the north side of the parking lot was also essential for events. When not in use, the food truck plaza functions as an extension of the regular seating area. But when the facility wants to bring food trucks in, the space was designed for them to drive straight in off the parking lot and connect to power and water seamlessly.

Employee well-being was truly at the center of this campus refresh. From the living walls to the water elements, every acre was intentionally designed to encourage connectivity and mindfulness. Topped off with an incredible green roof, this campus refresh is one of our favorite examples of activated spaces!

Images © YE-H Photography