Watershed Building

Three Petals of Sustainability: Watershed meets Seattle’s Living Building Challenge

This seven-story, mixed-use office building in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood captures and treats more than 500,000 gallons of stormwater each year, thanks to its slanted roof and a set of bioretention planters. The project meets three of the ‘petals’ for City of Seattle’s Living Building Challenge: materials, place and beauty. It also meets requirements for reducing total energy usage by at least 25% and total water usage by 75%.

DCI Engineers was the structural EOR responsible for Watershed’s primary lateral and gravity framing systems. The engineering team also detailed the connections for the exposed steel castellated beams. Integrating castellated beams into the building design saved 20% to 30% in material weight.

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Seattle, Washington
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Square Feet:
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Commercial, Sustainable Design
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Primary Material:
Concrete, Steel

Creating a greener design.

One of the key challenges during the design process was finding manufacturers for castellated beams. Many steel fabrication shops stopped specializing in fabricating those specific beams as they are not commonly used in steel design.

Project Highlights

  • Watershed’s roof will capture and treat roughly 200,000 gallons of stormwater while bioretention planters will collect and treat about 300,000 gallons of runoff from the nearby Aurora Bridge.
  • Features exposed castellated steel beams and floor-to-ceiling glass.
  • Pursuing Living Building Challenge Petal certification.

Awards and Certifications

  • Fitwel 3-Star Certified
  • 2022 HONOR Awards for Washington Architecture, Young Voices Selection
  • Living Building Petal Certified by Seattle’s Deep Green Pilot Program
  • Pursuing Petal Recognition from the International Living Future Institute
  • 2022 Golden Nugget Award – Award of Merit, Commercial Project
  • 2021 ENR Best of Best – Project of the Year Finalist, Excellence in Sustainability
  • 2021 ENR Northwest Regional Award – Sustainability/Office/Retail/Mixed-Use
  • 2021 AISC IDEAS2 Merit Award - $15M - $75M
  • 2021 Architizer A+ - Popular Choice Award
  • 2020 NAIOP Night of the Stars – Sustainable Development of the Year
  • Living Building Petal Certification
  • Salmon Safe 2019 Hero of the Salmon
  • 2017 NAIOP – Washington Office Development of the Year
  • Seattle 2030 District 2017 Vision Awards – Award for Water
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Castellated beams were essential to the design of Watershed due to their ability to allow more natural light into the space. DCI was able to use the steel brace frame in order to allow for more expansive views of Lake Union. Steel x brace frames ran down to the concrete, which is an atypical configuration that served to let in natural light.

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A Daily Journal of Commerce Project of the Week

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Greg Gilda

Vice-President, Seattle


I have always loved the building process – whether it is building a structure or a partnership with our clients. My most satisfying projects are those that require collaboration with all of the members of the team - from the owner to the design team to the construction team. The exciting part is coming up with a constructible design together that isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. That approach brings the most value to the client and the project."

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