Cedar Speedster | Architect’s Review
To honor the past but look to the future, the Cedar Speedster design team focused on celebrating the materiality of wood and steel. The solid wood and cedar siding creates a visceral connection to the enduring roots of the Pacific Northwest and the region’s robust lumber industry, and the lumber offers some biophilic benefits to boot.
Unique site geometries and daylighting simulations helped sculpt the mass of the building, highlighting the interventions needed. The glare and heat gain issues were mitigated by maximizing the glazing to the north and adjusting the glazing on the south and west facades.
The carving of the exterior terraces of the west-facing facade created additional shading while providing valuable outdoor space and opportunities for bioretention planters. Opening windows on all glazed facades increase natural ventilation while providing a sensory connection to the dynamic environment of Fremont.
Inside the building, the design draws on the expressive structure and textures of the Douglas Fir engineered tongue-and-groove columns, beams and decking to tell its story.
Tenants enjoy the benefits of working in this unique space. Fresh air, daylight and access to outdoor spaces stimulate cognitive functions. The wooden structure itself has biophilic benefits – enhancing the creativity, health and well-being of occupants through visual cues of color and grain as well as non-visual cues of touch, smell and even sound of wood.
The building contains multiple tenants – housing the head office of outdoor retailer evo and a local development company as well as three local retailers / restaurateurs. A common area off the lobby provides a venue for social interaction and events for tenants, while murals throughout the building provide whimsical touches and a connection to other Fremont Street art.
There are many benefits and amenities in this boutique-sized project on all of the facades, including the lane. The ground floor offers vibrant retail space, anchored by the award-winning Revel Restaurant, as well as the Aslan Taphouse Brewery and Local Tide Restaurant. All tenants support the distinct retail offerings that Fremont is known for, and the streetscape further enhances that liveliness. The street trees were carefully protected during construction, providing a mature canopy over the sidewalk during the warmer months. Rainwater planters are only tucked away under the outdoor terraces and in the building exit staircase.
The project uses four different configurations of bioretention planters built on this compact site to capture and manage stormwater. Along the Phinney Avenue right-of-way, three planters have been incorporated into the architecture; a prefabricated metal planter to separate the outdoor spaces from adjacent tenants, a planter cast into the concrete base of the open-air building, as well as a planter nestled under the cantilever terrace.
As a solid wood building, Cedar Speedster has 22% less carbon incorporated compared to a traditional concrete structure. Energy modeling in the initial phase helped sculpt the mass of the building to reduce energy consumption. This clarified the glare and heat gain issues, which were mitigated by reducing glazing on the south and west facades, while maximizing glazing on the north facade. The addition of large operable windows on all glazed facades increased natural ventilation while providing a physical connection to the dynamic environment of Fremont. The addition of a large terrace on each of the two upper levels further reduced the building’s expected energy consumption, while providing a crucial connection to the outside environment.