West Lakefront | Architect magazine

Project description

Lakeside West is a reimagined urban condominium that transforms an outdated mid-century dwelling into a highly organized and functional one-man dwelling. The client, Andrew Sirotnik, trained and practiced as an architect before founding technology company Fluid Digital which focused on digital interface and experience design. Sirotnik approached Wittman Estes, a Seattle architect known for integrating architecture and landscape and his painstaking reimagining of classic mid-century buildings such as the Civic Hotel and residences of notable mid-century architects, including Wendell Lovett and Ibsen Nelson.

Originally designed by Space Needle architect John Graham, Lakeside West was built in 1961 for the executive staff of the Century 21 World’s Fair. Considered a visionary design at the time, the building’s reinforced concrete frame and clean International Style forms represented the optimism and ambition of 1960s High Modernism. While the building had great bones, in 2020 , the layout and finishes were outdated and out of sync with Sirotnik’s contemporary lifestyle.

The design brief was to organize and organize an uncluttered life where Sirotnik’s daily routines of meditation, cooking, and homework could be focused and elevated by simplifying the material reality of his surroundings. The client wanted a space to entertain guests and focus on their children, all with flexibility allowing easy access to store dishes and project supplies with minimal effort. Wittman Estes designed custom folders around the simple rituals of Sirotnik’s everyday life, like making coffee in the morning and cocktails in the evening. Escaping the noise and clutter of its grand old single-family home, Lakeside West was imagined as a cloistered escape.

Functions are concentrated in flexible “living blocks” that contain and organize Sirotnick’s possessions, leaving the space around him free of clutter. The living blocks consist of a kitchen island, a main kitchen volume, a liquor cabinet, a hall closet and a bedroom storage closet. The design is adaptable to solitude and gathering living, where space and storage become a backdrop for living and connecting with outside views and with family and friends. Purified existence is supported by the flexibility of the islands of life. The kitchen block has an “open” and “closed” state. While cooking and preparing drinks, the open state of the cabinet has hinged, interlocking doors that pull back into niches and allow full open access to the interior of the cabinet. The closed state has flush doors with integrated finger pulls that turn the backrest into a quiet backdrop for the living room.

The textures and colors of Lake Washington and the lightness of the expansive sky are brought indoors to blend into a material palette of warm minimalism. The cool gray textures of the Luce di Luna marble evoke the surface of water, while the moody depth of the solid sawn white oak panels with tactile handles lends a warm, tactile intimacy to the furnishings.

Wittman Estes’ approach to sustainability focuses on space-saving, high-quality spaces built with durable materials and timeless designs that will last for the long haul and outlast interior design trends. The universalism of Lakeside West and the adaptability of Mid-Century International Style architecture is a perfect film for reinventing a dwelling that retains the essential bones and layout. The original condo has been streamlined and transformed with solid oak floors, cabinetry and solid stone countertops designed to last for the long haul. Locally sourced timber and detailed craftsmanship from Sparrow Woodworks has resulted in a refined, tactile living space where daily life is centered around people, activity, and the dynamic colors and textures of unobstructed views and pearly skies over the Lake Washington.

About Carl Schroeder

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