Madrona’s Live/Work Project Features an Eco-Friendly Design

With loft living above and office/retail space below, Madrona’s Pike Station embraces the community

By Mandolin Brassaw April 21, 2015


This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Seattle Magazine.

For decades, an adobe filling station sat on the corner of 34th and E Pike streets in Madrona’s tiny commercial thoroughfare. Long after its life as a gas station was over, property owner Tom Flood, a high school teacher and artist, turned the building into a community art space, where students from the Coyote Central after-school program built a decade’s worth of soapbox derby cars. In 2007, Flood teamed up with Susan Jones, FAIA, of architecture firm Atelierjones ( to reimagine the property as Pike Station, a seven-unit residential/commercial building with an eco-friendly focus. The old station came down, and the project was completed in 2013, after a slight derailment during the recession.

“It was one of those magical projects where everything falls into place,” says Jones, who borrowed from European and Asian models of high-density in-city living when designing the building. A common courtyard encourages interaction between residents and extends the living space of each narrow three-floor unit. Kitchen sinks are strategically placed to face a shared walkway, so residents can give a friendly wave as they come and go.

Pike Station anchors the corner of 34th and E Pike and wraps around a common courtyard for residents and business owners; photo by Lara Swimmer

Of equal importance to this project is its eco-friendly design, which includes net-zero water goals. No water is wasted, thanks to permeable pavers in the courtyard and a rooftop drainage system that captures rainwater in a 25,000-gallon cistern and pumps it back up to each unit’s private 400-square-foot roof deck to irrigate raised beds. Gray water (clean wastewater from sinks, showers and small appliances) is upcycled, filtered underground and used to supply the toilets. Each unit also is prewired for solar panels.

In addition to designing the building, Jones collaborated with her friend Jim Bowen on his unit, located in the northeast corner of the building. Jones and Bowen, who runs a Canadian architectural firm located in China, centered the decor around a 10-foot-long American black walnut dining room table made in Japan by the late George Nakashima (a master woodworker, originally from Spokane). “I wanted the table to be the focal point of the room,” says Bowen. “I really obsessed over every square inch of the space,” he admits, including the custom-designed cabinets for his large collection of Japanese dishware, a remote-controlled toilet and a soaking tub made of hinoki wood.

A soaking tub made out of fragrant hinoki wood

This sustainable live/work project was selected by a panel of architects for the AIA Seattle ( Home of Distinction program in recognition of the creative solutions and customized spaces within this modest-sized home that were inspired by the close collaboration between architect and homeowner.


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