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inside Sitka's treehouse
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A Treehouse? How Sitka Reimagined Apartment Design

With job growth at an all-time high in Seattle, apartment projects are being built at an astonishing pace as developers work to meet the demand for housing. This high volume poses a specific challenge: how do developers create memorable, unique spaces that stand out from the competition?

Vulcan Real Estate’s vanguard approach to this challenge is on display at Sitka, a seven-story, mixed-use project with 384 residential homes, 33,345 square feet of residential amenities and 3,143 square feet of retail.

The Challenge

Create memorable, unique spaces that stand out in the crowd

sitka gates
Sitka gateway. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

Establishing a Distinct, Sustainable Vision

Located at 1255 Harrison Street in South Lake Union, Sitka is part of a trio of full-block, mixed-use residential projects that includes Alley24 and Stack House, each with a singular character that contributes to the vibrancy of South Lake Union. These award-winning projects share sustainable design features, such as the Swale on Yale, cross-block alley connections and curated retail–creating an engaging pedestrian experience. Yet each offer distinct design approaches to the challenge of creating truly memorable spaces.

People walking through mist in sitka courtyard
Sitka’s courtyard, inspired by the San Juan Islands. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

Design that Reflects the Beauty of Pacific Northwest

Visitors to Sitka will immediately notice the uniquely Pacific Northwest design. Like a pearl within an oyster, Sitka’s most prized feature unfolds within the San Juan Island-inspired courtyard, which mirrors the region’s natural beauty. Echoing the urban forest motif are touches of driftwood, plantings of Sitka spruce trees, benches that resemble canoes and a bubbling pond with stepping stones. Across the property, select ground-floor units offer individual decks designed with carefree waterfront days in mind.

Sitka treehouse lit up at night
Sitka’s unique treehouse, designed by local firm Lead Pencil Studio. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

A Community Treehouse Offers Residential Retreat

Above the namesake Sitka trees sits the focal point of the entire community: a treehouse designed by local firm Lead Pencil Studio. Created to serve as an amenity space for residents to socialize, relax, and retreat to nature in the middle of urban Seattle, the structure draws people in and transports them away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

“From the upper level apartments, the green treehouse roof appears as a wildflower meadow-scape, wild and untamed,” says Daniel Mihalyo, designer for Lead Pencil. “When viewed from underneath, the structure beckons as an alluring space within the tree canopy.”

view from sitka community room
Seating nook with a view. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

Thoughtful Features and Amenities Surprise and Delight

With sustainability in mind, the extensive landscaping at Sitka is designed to thrive in the unique climate of the Pacific Northwest, where precipitation and long winters naturally cultivate the moss, ferns, and small seedlings on the living roof of the treehouse. In the warmer summer months, large wooden doors open to naturally cool the space.

Keeping sustainability at the forefront, the thoughtful landscaping is designed to thrive in the Pacific Northwest climate

Adjacent to the treehouse, a skybridge connects to other on-site apartment amenities, including an edible rooftop garden, a resident club house. and a pet lounge. Below, the lobby lounge and fitness center are open 24/7 to serve residents.

people walking in front of skybridges at sitka
Skybridges and community at Sitka. Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.

Although each memorable space is unique, Sitka’s design unifies the experience of visitors, immersing them in the natural beauty of the Northwest. Yet beyond the doors of this forested hideaway, popular local businesses are just within walking distance. Neighborhood favorites like Espresso Vivace, Mbar, MOHAI, BaBar, and more are mere steps away—underscoring the unique union of an urban location and a green apartment retreat.

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