JW Architects, founded in 2009, specializes in urban infill housing and custom homes. Their award winning work space, located in Seattle’s International District, is Zero Energy Certified by the International Living Future Institute. It is the second commercial building in Seattle to be certified at this level. Led by Julian and Jaidee Weber, they are a diverse team bringing a broad range of expertise to a rigorous, collaborative and careful design process. They are passionate about progressive design that connects people to their neighbors and communities, and committed to taking big steps toward a smaller footprint for our planet.
Q: What does BALANCE mean to you when you think about design?
Julian + Jaidee Weber: Balance is a foundational part of the design process and is present in all aspects of our work. It is the harmony of shape, scale and proportion of the project, as well as the context of our work in the surrounding neighborhood. We strive balance the short-term goals of our clients with the long-term goals of a home that adapts to the changing needs of inhabitants, neighborhoods and the planet. As stewards of both the built and natural environment, we must balance the need for additional housing in our city with the judicial use of our shared resources.
Q: What design/social trends (past or present) inspire your practice?
JW: The notion of the single family home and nuclear family as the main driver for residential design is less and less relevant in the context of population growth, demographic shifts and affordable housing challenges. We are inspired by urbanization; who is living here and how they want to live. We view sustainability as a series of achievable efficiencies — of density, programming, natural light, materials and energy. The historical framework of the modernists, their approach to residential design and community living also informs our work.
Q: How do you explain what you do for a living?
JW: We are small business owners, an architect and designer. We keep it simple.
Q: What are your go-tos for when you’re seeking inspiration?
JW: We are inspired by both the extraordinary and the mundane. We look to artists, designers and architects for beautiful work and spaces that remind us of what is possible. We love to travel to unfamiliar cities to challenge our ideas of what a city is and we enjoy walking inquisitively through the neighborhoods of Seattle to discover the forgotten and unseen. We like to process our discoveries through research, sketching, and making.
Q: Tell us about a project that you worked on that you are most proud of.
JW: The design and construction of our own office in the heart of Seattle’s International District proved to us that Net Zero Energy is attainable without sacrificing quality of space or design. People love to come to work and gather in the space for special events, neighborhood meetings, and artist installations.
Q: Why do you do what you do? What do you want to leave behind for future generations?
JW: We have the privilege of doing what we love — collaborating and problem-solving to design homes and environments that will endure over time and adapt to the changing needs of their inhabitants.
If you’d like to check out their office at our Opening Party, click the link below!