From Vacancy to Vibrancy: Bringing Modern Aesthetic Appeal to 1101 2nd Avenue
After nearly 50 years as an office for Washington Mutual Bank, the modernist building at 1101 Second Avenue designed by Seattle architect Paul Thiry was left vacant in 2007 in the wake of the bank’s collapse. In partnership with Rockwood Capital, Urban Renaissance Group began an ambitious re-purposing and renovation in 2012 with Mithun as architect and Simpson Gumpertz & Heger as structural engineer, and Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty company (HSW), as the general contractor. HSW delivered both the shell and core and the interior tenant improvement of the three floors for MG2 Architects.
The renovation project brought life and modern aesthetic appeal to this vacant office building that was designed by Paul Thiry in 1967. The building stands four stories tall and houses 80,000-square-feet of space. Our team worked alongside two architects and the building’s new tenant, design firm MG2, to complete extensive renovations on the exterior and interior. The team also completed major seismic upgrades, as well renovations to a narrow “breezeway” and a five-level, 50,000-square-foot parking garage on the lower street level. The project is tracking for LEED Gold certification.
We worked alongside architect, Mithun, to complete a comprehensive overhaul of the building’s exterior. The team enclosed the two-story covered entry in a curtain wall, creating a grand “store front” while also adding square footage to the large high bay area bordering the 2nd Avenue entry. Other upgrades included new windows, removing the horizontal precast bands on the building, and a new roof. Window installations were completed adjacent to the perimeter in order to increase natural lighting, fostering a more open building space.
The project team worked with MG2 to build out the bottom three floors of the building for the design firm’s new headquarters. The space supports 200 people, encompasses 64,000-square-feet, and showcases the two-story entry as well as the exposed steel and wood tread feature stair. Additional work included all new mechanical and electrical systems, an energy efficient Variable Refrigerant Flow system, new elevator cab interiors, a new building lobby, locker rooms, and bike storage in the second basement off the garage.
Innovations in Seismic Upgrades
Early seismic structural analysis indicated a number of significant challenges. To maintain an open layout and engagement with the exterior, the team developed a solution for load transfer that leveraged strategic shear wall placement and a load collector system embedded within the floor of the existing structure via high strength carbon fiber strips.
Seismic upgrades above ground level involved over four miles of horizontal Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) then covered in cementious underlayment. Improvements to the seismic system underground were complex and comprehensive, involving new shear walls on below-grade expanded footings and piles. The original six 30” diameter by 50’ deep piles were designed to support a new shear wall in the old mid-block slab-on-grade alley “breezeway” connecting the adjacent 1991 Second and Seneca Tower garage thru this building to Spring Street. A buried Seattle City Light (SCL) high voltage electrical duct was predicted necessary, however the high pressure 8” Seattle Steam line was unsuited and the pile design needed to be changed. In order to address this change in plans, Balfour Beatty developed a BIM model to pinpoint the exact locations of utilities to assist the structural engineer in redesigning the pile configuration.
The 1101 2nd Avenue renovation demonstrated effective collaborative construction between multiple entities, allowing every goal to be met and every issue to be addressed promptly. The outcome of the 1101 2nd Avenue project is a contemporary headquarters for MG2 and a sight to behold for passersby in downtown Seattle.