ECOM Community Center

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Seattle | Washington 

Emerald City Outreach Ministries (ECOM) is a multi-faceted, multi-racial organization dedicated to the social, economic and spiritual development of the Rainier Valley community of Central Seattle.  

Together with its affiliated church, Emerald City Bible Fellowship, ECOM envisioned a community center campus complete with offices and classrooms for their outreach programs, a small auditorium for their performing arts group, a large multi-use space which would double as a worship space and a skating rink.  

Master planning was completed for the 67,000 square foot project, and phasing was established with the first phase being dedicated to new offices for ECOM.  This phase also provided the small auditorium which will be used as a worship space, performing arts theater and, when partitioned, additional classrooms.

The site consists of nearly three acres of mixed zoning with the street frontage being commercial zone and the back half being single family zoned.  The site fronts on Rainier Avenue South one of the main arterials through the community.  The neighborhood is a mixture of single and multi-family housing, commercial and institutional use.  The property slopes gently from Rainier becoming steeper toward the back of the site.

ECOM desired a building which would make a statement about the vitality of its neighborhood, to create a sense permanence without being “stuffy”.  They wanted the building to set a tone for the inevitable revitalization of the neighborhood.  Of particular concern was how the building would relate to the street.  

We pulled the parking to the back of the site so that the street frontage could be dedicated to windows, and building access that would enliven the sidewalk and enhance the pedestrian experience.  The budget, being tight, along with a desire to have a high quality exterior encouraged us to investigate unique materials, such as the metal siding, and built elements, such as the upturned awnings, which would enliven a fairly simple building and give it a civic presence.  

The forms and fenestrations of the building respond to the use within while the consistency of material unifies the elements into a cohesive campus.