The dynamic “Z” plan design of Axle sets a precedent for future development within the context of this light industrial district, located at the west edge of Queen Anne neighborhood, between Ballard and downtown Seattle. The strong diagonals of the building inform the landscape design by reinforcing view corridors at the upper levels and circulation desire lines within the ground plane.
The exposure to arterial traffic along 15th Ave. W. is softened by robust planting and street trees, with building entries and pedestrian circulation largely focused on the quiet 16th Ave. W. side of the building. This frontage is activated by the retail plaza the south end, and a series of ground-level townhome units at the other. The retail plaza serves both the residential lobby and leasing offices, as well as a corner bike workshop — creating a hub of activity, connections to the neighborhood, and a highly-visible point of entry for visitors.
The private townhome unit entries are buffered from the sidewalk by a richly-planted edge. The scale and rhythm of the townhome stoops is reinforced by the entry paths, which form diagonal bridges between the public and private realm. Landscape scoring, planting patterns, and lighting provide clear transitions from larger public spaces to smaller- scale private entry stoops, where there is space for personalization.
Upper level courtyards and terraces take advantage of the building geometry to offer sweeping views toward both Salmon and Elliot Bays, and the Olympic mountains beyond. Rooftop plantings evoke a seaside atmosphere, with ornamental grasses and flowering perennials that provide continuous movement and seasonal interest.