Near the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle is a 10-story retirement community on the verge of obsolescence until a few years ago.
Compared to the more contemporary upscale shared apartments in recent years, Bayview’s internal and external appearance was built in 1960 and looks very dated. In the end, the Community Board recognized the need for changes and eventually approved the move of the building for $57 million.
The beginning of this master plan took several years. It was made difficult by the location of Bayview in the densely populated central area of the city, as there was little land available to expand the campus. At the same time, construction work disrupted the lives of residents and the employees’ working day.
The repositioning was done in 2019, and it breathed a new life into a classic building by adding modern amenities to it while maintaining the original design.
The Overall Concept
John Graham Jr came up with the design for Bayview in the late 1950s, and it was built in 1960. Graham was the man who designed the iconic Space Needle. Considering the trend of mid-century modernism that has taken over architecture, Graham created a building that provided views of the Cascade Mountains, Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, and downtown Seattle for its residents.
It opened with 59 assisted living units, 134 independent living units, a dining room, and a shared living room on the ground floor. There were also solariums built on each floor. Eventually during the 1990s allowed for the expansion of a 50-bed skilled nursing unit, rooftop terrace, and a childcare center.
Even though minor renovations took place over the years, the leadership had resisted going through a complete renovation, and the building became outdated inside and outside. Since the market for senior housing has changed, the board of directors and leadership decided that it was time to take action.
In 2014, the board of directors created a plan to reposition the campus and asked the Rice Fergus Miller firm to start the project.
The plan asked for refreshing outdoor amenities, exteriors, interiors, and existing apartments. It also asked for adding on independent living units, upgrading amenities, adding dining venues, and adding a memory care wing.
Original common space was turned into the independent living units, and the floor made initially for assisted living was turned into independent living. A memory unit was designed to share dining and living spaces on the ground floor, which opens up into a patio and family visiting room.
The new amenities included Cloud Room Café located on the rooftop, Monsieur Pickles, a bistro restaurant across from the wellness center with plenty of space for stretching and yoga and exercise equipment. The update also added a heated indoor saltwater pool.
The main dining room ended up with a redesign to add light and views of the terrace garden. Neutral and wood tones make the area provide sense to the area while keeping some original design. A library was renovated, an art studio, and a kitchen space. These rooms flow into each other using expansive windows.
The main entrance was moved up by one floor. It refreshed the streetscape while adding access to assisted living and memory care. An exit stair tower and a new elevator were added while keeping the original character.
The Overall Construction
Before any renovations could happen, Bayview would need to deal with its financials to get the funding to finance the project. Eventually, in 2016, the funds were provided, and the construction started.
The expansion and vision for the renovation were to help meet new revenue demands, but it conflicted with zoning restrictions in Seattle.
The design team took the time to address any structural issues that would stop construction. Eventually, the landlocked location of Bayview stopped any chances that they had to expand the campus out. If it were built vertically, then it would impact the existing structure.
Another structural problem was the placement of the pool. RFM decided to put it in between two columns, which meant that they had to not mess with structural footings. RFM also found that they would have to replace the plumbing and the original oil boiler system, which provided hot water to the whole building.
RFM then decided to add a gas boiler system that was energy efficient to be installed. The system took up a tenth of the footprint of the original system. This free space was then turned into spaces that could generate revenue and storage spaces and supply spaces for the maintenance staff, residents, and employees.
Adding on a new dining venue to the roof meant that a new elevator would need to be installed. RFM decided to repurpose an old decommissioned chimney that was part of the incinerator. That was a challenge because the chimney had an internal liner that would need to come out, but the structure was not big enough to fit more than a single person inside it to do all of the work.
Bayview and RFM knew that during the building renovations, there would be disruptions to the operation and the routines for the residents. Plus, there was some convincing that needed to be done for more senior residents that the renovation was needed.
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