2+U creates a space for the community in the heart of downtown Seattle. Located next to the Seattle Art Museum, the project knits together the Waterfront, Business District, and Arts District by lifting the tower 85 feet above the street, providing connectivity at the pedestrian scale, and views through the block to Elliott Bay.

Architecture, Construction & Design Awards 2022
Second Award | Commercial (Built)

Project Name: 2+U
Project Category: Commercial (Built)
Studio Name:
Pickard Chilton
Design Team:
Anthony Markese FAIA
Jon Pickard FAIA
William D. Chilton FAIA
Nancy Clayton AIA
Adrienne Nelson AIA
Area: 1,000,000 ft2 (92,900 m2)
Year: 2019
Location: Seattle, Washington
Skanska Commercial Development
Architect of Record
Kendall/Heaton Associates
Structural Engineer
Magnusson Klemencic Associates
MEP Engineer
Swift Company
Skanska USA Building

Photography Credits: David Sunberge/Esto
Benjamin Benschneider

2+U | Pickard Chilton - Sheet2
©David Sunberge/Esto

An innovative design strategy – lifting the podium tower 85 feet above street level – creates 24,000 sf of open-air, pedestrian-friendly public space with dynamic retail where the community can gather. 2+U celebrates the arts and culture of the downtown Seattle neighborhood and offers 1,100 sf dedicated creative and studio space for local artists to use free of charge, with a focus on emerging artists and underserved communities.

2+U | Pickard Chilton - Sheet3
©David Sunberge/Esto

While the tower above provides year-round weather protection akin to a tree canopy’s warmth and comfort, the dynamic open-air retail experience below serves as a gathering space for the public. Designed to be a very porous and welcoming pedestrian experience, the village also accommodates food trucks, as well as entertainment and large-scale art opportunities within the publicly accessible plaza. Heavy timber beams salvaged from the site during demolition were repurposed into benches to provide seating.

Spanning the entire three-level Urban Village, a GeoWall is the first in Seattle and one of the largest of its kind in the world. Made from local soils, the more than 220-foot long structural rammed earth wall curves through the Urban Village, starting at two feet in height and ending at more than 30 feet.

2+U | Pickard Chilton - Sheet4
©David Sunberge/Esto

Abundant outdoor spaces offer physical and mental benefits, providing opportunities for fresh air, greenery, and views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. 2+U is located directly on Seattle’s primary downtown bicycle lane network, and offers best in class bicycle commuting infrastructure, including conditioned indoor bike storage for 125+ bikes, eBike charging, individual lockers, shower and sauna facilities, and a bicycle repair shop.

Collaborating with a multidisciplinary team committed to sustainable, high-performance solutions, the project began with a sustainability visioning session that shaped the design process. Impactful goals included maximizing daylight, optimizing energy efficiency while exceeding the stringent Seattle Energy Code, and minimizing water usage. The project ultimately achieved LEED-CS Platinum and Well Health-Safety Certifications.

2+U | Pickard Chilton - Sheet5
©David Sunberge/Esto

The 530-foot, 1 million GSF Class-A office tower comprises a 19-story podium and 38-story tower. A side core allows for open floor plates with unobstructed views of Puget Sound and natural daylight in the tower’s toilet rooms and main egress stairs. The energy efficiency of the tower is made possible in part by an active chilled beam system. Bioretention planters on multiple levels and a drought-tolerant garden on the level 19 terrace serve to mitigate runoff.