Building of its own time Exceptional foresight, innovative design and efficient construction bring Cirrus and Stratus to life in the Seattle skyline. BY: WON MOC PHOTOGRAPHY: LORETTA GRANDE / LARA SWIMMER
etween downtown Seattle and the gateway to the South Lake Union district stands the dark, curvy Cirrus apartment tower. The tower signifies many things in flux about Seattle, from the recent growth in the technology workforce to the surge of new developments. Without knowing the history behind it, Cirrus could easily be mistaken as yet another high-rise residential tower currently at the center of the Seattle development debate. To do this, however, would be to ignore the teamwork and innovations that went into shaping the building, including residentcentric design and lean construction techniques, making Cirrus not only a successful project but also a unique addition to the Seattle skyline.
up a central, visible site for Cirrus on the border of the South Lake Union district in 2011 about a year in advance of the recent surge of developments, showing uncanny foresight. Linsley calls the location of the Cirrus building site a “knot in the middle of the bow tie.” “It’s where the world of traditional retail, office and the hotel environment merges with the upcoming high tech industries of South Lake Union,” Linsley said. “This is becoming the new gravitational center of Seattle.” Having decided on a location, GID found innovative partners in Weber Thompson Architects and Sellen to design and construct a building that would be highly desirable to residents.
Gift of Foresight
Embracing a Lifestyle
This success story begins on the east coast with the GID Development Group. Based in Boston, GID started in 2008 and develops mixed-use and residential urban spaces around the country. The company’s tenet, as expressed by the President of GID Development Jim Linsley, is simple yet rare for a developer. “We are not merchant builders,” Linsley said. “Our ethos is not to build a commodity product that we develop then quickly sell.” Fueled by this mindset of finding a long-term investment, GID tied 6 craft magazine
It is hard to ignore how different Cirrus is when compared to the many monolithic high-rise buildings in downtown Seattle. Cirrus is sculptural in nature, with curves, angles and rectangles. This sculptural massing and shaping of the building resulted from Weber Thompson’s blending of art and science to produce a structure that creates a lifestyle
RIGHT: The completed Cirrus tower OPPOSITE PAGE: The Cirrus apartment building under construction