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Peek at the South Lake Union tower planned for the Cornish campus

The building includes a gallery and stage for the art school

A rendering of the plan for the corner of Boren and Lenora.
Courtesy of Weber Thomspon

Last year, Cornish College of the Arts, Recovery Café, and Bellwether Housing sold three surface-level parking lots to Holland Partner Group on the corner of Boren and Lenora in exchange for a piece of the new building. In late November, Holland presented brand-new designs for the Weber Thompson designed building: a 44-story mixed-use tower with apartments above and arts and office space below.

New renderings show a glass-dominated tower, textured throughout by intersecting masses—which end at a thinner, central mass, which the design team pictures as “a graceful termination to the central mass and the sky.” More simply: It’s going to be a tall, glass tower with smooth, boxy textures, in sync with much of the surrounding new construction.

As part of the deal, Cornish gets a prominent art gallery facing Lenora Street—next to the main campus center—that Holland said in a design proposal will “anchor” the building and also be “highly visible” from Denny Way. It also includes a 180-seat performing arts facility inside and a landscaped area to serve as a “gateway” to the campus, including opportunities for sculpture display and an outdoor stage. The entrance aims to create pedestrian interest with an art wall, seating, display podiums, cut into a wood-slat-lined pocket.

Performing arts space makes up more than 7,000 square feet of the plan. Recovery Café will get expanded administrative offices—part of nearly 50,000 square feet of office space on three levels in the building’s podium.

The planned outdoor plaza on Lenora creates a kind of outdoor gathering and gallery space that can be converted into an outdoor performance stage.
Courtesy of Weber Thompson

The challenge of the four-story podium is maintaining a pedestrian experience that’s not jarring next to Cornish’s existing buildings, especially the historic Raisbeck Hall on Boren. The current design proposal settles on a “gasket” connecting the two buildings, which is another opportunity for art display. Boren is also the planned entrance to the Cornish performing arts center.

The Boren side of the building neighbors Raisbeck Hall.
Courtesy of Weber Thompson
A view of the Lenora side, taken above the street at Terry and Denny Way.
Courtesy of Weber Thompson

The upper floors are for 393 planned residential units, starting with amenities on the fifth floor—with outdoor space atop the podium—and stretching up to a shared roof amenity area. 369 below-grade parking stalls are planned, including 298 for residents.

The plans, which passed a February 2018 early design guidance phase, got a unanimous recommendation from the Downtown Design Review Board.

This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the project’s position within design review.