DRA SeattleComment

The Difference between Collaboration and Greed

DRA SeattleComment
The Difference between Collaboration and Greed

The difference between collaboration and greed is literally the difference between day and night for the residents of adjacent towers. The cover photo for this post shows the positive effects of collaboration as the new project on the right [Tower 12] angles away from the existing residential tower on the left [2000 First Avenue], providing more than adequate daylight in the alley canyon between them. 

Below is what we see as the negative effects of greed as the proposed tower on the left [5th & Virginia] towers above the existing residential tower on the right [Escala], robbing most alley side residents of necessary light, air, and privacy...and increasing health risks considerably.

 The intent here seems to be to maximize developer profit at the expense of residents' livability by siting the new tower so close as to reduce natural light to almost negligible levels.

The intent here seems to be to maximize developer profit at the expense of residents' livability by siting the new tower so close as to reduce natural light to almost negligible levels.

Noted daylighting expert and former director of the UW Integrated Design Lab, Professor Joel Loveland, did a comprehensive analysis of this situation and came to the following conclusions: 

"Currently the residents on the east-northeast (east) side of the Escala Residences enjoy quite unrestricted access to daylight and sunlight from their living spaces, living rooms, dining rooms and bedroom views to the eastern sky. These living spaces along the alley with primarily views to the Douglaston [5th & Virginia] will have their daylight reduced by more than 75%, with the most recent Tower design proposal. These “internal” units will only rarely be able to turn their electric lights off during the day due to the lack of access to daylight. Their units’ autonomy from electric light due to access to daylight in their homes will be only 12%....

Lack of sufficient exposure to daylight has been linked to a lack of wakefulness during the day that commonly leads to a poor night’s sleep. This commonly referred to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has been linked to seasonal depression and in large epidemiological studies to increases in the rates of various cancers such as cancers of the breast and colon...."

With reasonable collaboration between all parties [developer, adjacent residents, Design Review Board, City Staff, and City Council], these health and livability risks could be mitigated in a win-win fashion, and avoided in future developments in downtown Seattle.