Sitka is a 7- story, 384-unit building in Seattle’s thriving South Lake Union neighborhood. The project’s design, inspired by Northwest Modernism and the landscapes of the nearby San Juan Islands, responds to varied contextual conditions while evoking continuity with simple proportions.

Studio Name: Runberg Architecture Group
Design Team: Brian Runberg (Principal in Charge), Larry Flack (Project Manager), Rachel Adams (Architect)
Area: South Lake Union, Seattle, WA
Year: 2018
Location: 1255 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109


  • Client: Vulcan Real Estate
  • General Contractor: Exxel Pacific
  • Energy Consultant: Ecotope, Inc.
  • Environmental Consultant: O’Brien360
  • Structural engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
  • Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Berger Partnership
  • Electrical + Lighting Engineers: Rushing
  • Interior Design: Lair Design
  • Acoustical Consultant: A3 Acoustics, LLC
  • Building Envelope: 4EA Building Science
  • Treehouse Design: Lead Pencil Studio

Photography Credits: Christophe Servieres, Michael Walmsley, Benjamin Benschneider

Sitka By Runberg Architecture Group - Sheet5
©Christophe Servieres, Michael Walmsley, Benjamin Benschneider

Three “cabin- like” buildings are subtly angled to create a concave backdrop to the adjacent historic Cascade Park while the south wing’s sloped green roof allows natural light into a central tree-filled courtyard. The elimination of the typical mid-rise podium allows individual structures to sit at street level, providing pedestrian access for residents and the public, and enhancing the concept of an environmental retreat in an urban setting.

Sitka By Runberg Architecture Group - Sheet7
©Christophe Servieres, Michael Walmsley, Benjamin Benschneider

Using cutting-edge technology, Sitka is one of the most sustainable and energy efficient multifamily buildings in the region. Technology includes a Wastewater Heat Recovery system (WWHR), the first of its kind for this application in the U.S., that captures heat from outgoing wastewater and reuses it for domestic hot water heating; and a greywater harvesting system that diverts water from showers and laundry for on-site irrigation.

Sitka By Runberg Architecture Group - Sheet9
©Christophe Servieres, Michael Walmsley, Benjamin Benschneider

Other sustainable features cover the project from top to bottom: Starting at the top, a green roof with drought tolerant plants and bioretention planters capture run-off from the roof, which also provides detention and some filtration prior to discharge to the city storm sewer. Inside, apartment units are equipped with recycled and locally sourced materials and low-flow toilets and fixtures. The team took every opportunity to maximize efficiency and sustainability on this project, pushing boundaries on what was deemed possible for multifamily projects, creating an innovative point of inspiration for future projects. The project achieved LEED Homes Platinum and Salmon Safe certifications. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) named Sitka one of its Outstanding Multifamily Projects of the Year as part of the 2020 LEED Homes Awards.

About Runberg Architecture Group

Since its founding in 1998, Runberg Architecture Group has earned a name for thoughtful architectural design that balances the unique social, economic and environmental interests of each project. Runberg designs sustainable mixed-use urban environments where people want to be—vibrant, engaging places that create high and enduring value for Runberg’s clients and their communities. The firm understands that quality of life is highest in places where social, economic and environmental interests are in harmony. Runberg’s mission is to design places that achieve this harmony by honoring the distinct needs and opportunities of each project.


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