Northaven West provides 82 mobility-, hearing-, and sight-impaired accessible homes for seniors of low and modest incomes in the thriving Northgate neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The product of a multi-year collaboration between Northaven Senior Living and HumanGood, Northaven’s passionate residents, and the design team, this affordable independent living facility, the third building on the campus, continues Northaven’s tradition of providing quality, progressive living for seniors.
To help the client determine the best way to expand their facilities, the design team studied several alternative campus development options with the goals of enhancing access and placemaking while increasing the amount of available affordable senior housing. Given these requirements, the west parking lot proved to be the best location for the next phase of the Northaven story.
Northaven West integrates seamlessly into the existing campus. Through negotiations with the City, the design team determined how best to fit the building on the site in order to maintain necessary servicing space and appropriate fire access. The project’s positioning in relation to the existing buildings (Northaven I and II) resolved these issues while creating a centerpiece: a landscaped mews along the east edge of the building. This central path is a vital amenity for the community, providing easy access between Northaven West and the rest of campus. With this new pathway, residents can enjoy dining, community rooms, classes, or other amenities at Northaven I. The path also promotes a healthy lifestyle; it encourages activity and has become a community-wide destination. Northaven West benefits from integration into the larger community; shops, restaurants, parks, major bus routes, and a light rail station are within walking distance.
Northaven West is the second project in the country to be constructed and fully occupied under the HUD Section 202 grant program, which emphasizes physical design standards to facilitate aging in place, robust services to support the health and social well-being of elderly persons, and mixed-finance development that leverages capital advance funding with other financing sources. In collaboration with HumanGood and HUD, the design team reviewed HUD accessibility standards to understand their implications to layout, acoustic mitigation, and material selection. To minimize layout changes resulting from a successful application, the team incorporated these standards into the design in advance of the grant award; this was critical to meeting project budget and delivery timelines.