Mount Baker Village and McClellan Apartments 

ARC Architects, Seattle, WA

Upgrading existing buildings in order to revitalize a community.

Developer:  Mount Baker Housing Authority
Architect: ARC Architects
Contractor: RAFN Company
Construction Completed in 2018
Project Cost: $16.9 Million
Total Size: 156 Units (107 renovated, 49 new construction)

The construction of the Mount Baker Link light rail station only a few blocks away from the Mount Baker Village location makes it an ideal one for affordable housing, but in 2016 the existing buildings were less than ideal.  As part of a project team that included ARC Architects, Beacon Development, and RAFN Construction, ILGSE worked to develop a multi-stage plan and subsequent designs for the Mount Baker Village complex on behalf of its owner, the Mount Baker Housing Authority.  The overall goal of the project was to address both the short-term need for additional housing units and long-term financial costs of the property in order to ensure it continues to be the keystone property in the MBHA portfolio.  

The initial phase of the project revolved around the seven existing buildings in the original Mount Baker Village.  After completing an evaluation of the existing buildings, the project team was able to identify areas where upgrades could be made to improve both the safety and performance of the existing buildings.  Mechanical systems and appliances were upgraded throughout all seven buildings, the weather envelope was improved, and seismic upgrades were incorporated into the lower floors to increase the overall safety.  The shared common spaces in the entry building were also remodeled to provide spaces for additional on-site services for the residents.  All of this was done with a goal of minimizing the long-term maintenance and operating costs for the existing buildings through more efficient systems and minor revisions to the existing spaces that made them more enjoyable to their occupants.  

Phase one also included the construction of three new additions to existing buildings on the east side of the site.  In addition to providing 18 additional units for the resident community, the additions were arranged to create a partially sheltered courtyard in the center of the buildings.  This arrangement gives each building its own private space for residents to gather together without traveling to the larger common space.

While the upgrades and additions to the original Mount Baker Village would have made for a significant undertaking on their own, the new McClellan Apartments were constructed on an adjacent lot in order to meet all of the project goals.  The ground floor of this new four-story apartment building was designed to provide commercial-grade spaces for the shared services used by the residents of the complex, as well as the new primary offices for the MBHA located directly on the street front of McClellan Avenue.  

By cutting into the hillside along McClellan, the new apartment building is able to maintain the character of the surrounding single-family residential neighborhood even though it includes 31 new apartments.  The building’s construction is certified to meet the Evergreen Sustainable Design Standards, utilizing items such as a solar ready roof and community rain gardens to minimize the impact of the new building and also reduce the costs of future operation.  

When people ask us what exactly a structural engineering firm does, we tell them it’s really quite simple.

We keep the floors from touching.


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