The 27-story tower in the heart of the University District encourages connectivity with two cut-outs, common outdoor areas – social greenways – in the vertically stacked building. The design plays off the rational and romantic cues of the neighborhood, where the rational street grid intersects with romantic topography and natural vistas.


1013 NE 45th Street
Seattle, WA


High-Rise, Mixed-Use Residential


ONELIN Capital Corporation




Architecture, Landscape Architecture


The University District is a neighborhood in flux. Exploring the pre-development topography of the area revealed unchanging natural aspects that became design influences. These include: steep, vegetated Ravenna Park; the undulating, irregular shoreline; and beautiful vistas of natural landmarks, including Mt. Rainier. These indelible, timeless markers served as a guide for the organization and inspiration for the concepts.


ONEU takes inspiration from juxtaposed “rational and romantic” qualities of the neighborhood. The long, rational street grid contrasts with romantic traits seen in the pedestrian experience of the University of Washington, the rugged natural greenery of Ravenna Park, and the winding Burke-Gilman Trail. The tower features a rational façade and grid, which intersects with the romantic via multi-story, stepped greenways.


Social greenways located on floors 7-9 and 15-17 provide common outdoor areas throughout the vertically stacked tower. The emphasis is on these spaces being “common” – essentially, elevated parks at key points in the building that respond to the neighborhood context and add to the skyline.


Young city dwellers prefer to live closer together and yet they feel lonelier. A recent national study said 75% of people in younger generations reported experiencing infrequent meaningful social interactions compared to only 50% of those in older generations.

High-rises often feel hermetically sealed until a resident reaches her deck or the rooftop amenity space, which takes a concerted effort to visit. ONEU’s social greenways provide common areas along everyday paths of travel, delivering a variety of gathering spaces, access to light and air, and opportunities for serendipitous connections.

“"All ages desire social interaction; it's part of being human. Tall buildings need to respond to these desires by becoming social connectors themselves."”

– Jeanne Gang, Founder of Studio Gang

plug and play

The floor plans are modulated for a high variety of unit types. This allowed the development team the freedom to easily change unit types throughout the design process. Legos were utilized in models, further exemplifying the ease of making changes with the plug-in framework.

“This is conceptually the strongest tower we’ve seen in the U District. And we’ve seen a lot of towers in the last couple years. These cuts in the building – the social greenways – they have real meaning and purpose in exploring this idea of vertical urbanism and what that means.”

– Tim Carter - Seattle Northeast Design Review Board Member and Architect - March 2022 DRG Meeting