Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Luma Lighting Design (firm); Miller Hull Partnership, LLP (firm); Brian Court (lighting designer); Robert E. Hull (architect); Christopher M. Meek (architect/architectural lighting consultant); John Melloy (lighting designer); David Edward Miller (architect); Zachary Suchara (lighting designer)

Dates: constructed 2011-2013

6 stories, total floor area: 50,000 sq. ft.

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1501 East Madison Street
Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA 98122

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By the early 2020s, the Bullitt Center remained one of the most innovative green buildings in the Pacific Northwest, demonstrating how an office can generate more power than it needs and use water in a highly efficient manner. In the mid-2010s, it was supposed to be just the start of a new generation of green commercial buildings in Seattle, but developers during the city's real estate bonanza did not choose to deviate from their tested formulae for profits. The Bullitt Foundation's leadership chose to meet standards set forth in the Living Building Challenge, the most stringent green architectural guidelines devised at the time.

Building History

Designed by Miller Hull Partnership, this cutting-edge, ultra-energy-efficient building served as the new headquarters of the Bullitt Foundation. Ground was broken in 04/2011 and concluded by Earth Day 04/22/2013. The Bullitt Center web site stated: "The goal of the Bullitt Center is to change the way buildings are designed, built and operated to improve long-term environmental performance and promote broader implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other green building technologies in the Northwest. The building is seeking to meet the ambitious goals of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most strenuous benchmark for sustainability. For example, a solar array will generate as much electricity as the building uses and rain will supply as much water, with all wastewater treated onsite." (See Bullitt, "The Forefront of Performance-Based Design," accessed 06/11/2013.) To discourage automobile transit, the $18.5 million Bullitt Center had no parking garage.

Denis Hayes (born 12/29/1944 in WI) was the Bullitt Foundation's President at the the time of construction, and he selected the Living Building Challenge for its strict guidelines on energy consumption, water use, green building materials and life cycle analysis. Hayes established the Earth Day while working as a young lawyer with WI's environmentally conscious Senator Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005). Students from colleges to elementary schools celebrated Earth Day on 04/22/1970.

A 14,000-square-foot solar array covered the center's roof with 573 panels. This bank of solar cells could generate 243,761 kilowatt-hours (kWh), although the building uses only 152,878 kWh.

Building Notes

The University of Washington (UW), College of Built Environments' Integrated Design Lab (IDL) relocated from previous accommodations in Seattle's Northlake neighborhood to Capitol Hill's new Bullitt Center in 2013. The IDL Lab leased space on the first two floors of the building, and assisted the architectural firm of Miller/Hull in the center's design. The International Living Future Institute also occupied space on the first floor and the Cascadia Green Building Council also had space here. The Bullitt Foundation maintained its offices on part of the sixth floor only, allowing it to derive rental income from offices on floors 1-6. The Bullitt Center took the place of a one-story, wood-frame commercial building, formerly housing "The Cottage" tavern (in the 1970s), and a gay bar, "The Men's Room," (until 2012).

PCAD id: 18616

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