Bloc Haus: A Creative Approach to Community Living

Bloc Haus: A Creative Approach to Community Living


Named for its articulated facade and vertical stagger. Bloc Haus embodies communal living in a time when Seattle urgently needs dense urban development. The city’s growing population and limited area for expansion have led to an affordable housing challenge in urban, walkable neighborhoods. With a boost to the economy in recent years, Seattle has been bursting at the seams with new construction to accommodate the city’s rapid growth. For Bloc Haus, a local developer asked our team to design a mixed-use apartment building that would creatively solve the demand for increased residential density on a small urban lot.

Located in one of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods, Capitol Hill, the lot originally supported a single-family home, which housed 4-6 residents. With Bloc Haus, the lot now provides housing for up to 27 people within the same square footage, plus rentable commercial space that contributes to local commerce.The walkable neighborhood offers diverse retail and public transit (located across the street from the new Sound Transit Link Light Rail station), which eliminates the need for a car, garage, or parking. With communal spaces, private amenities, modern design, and a high walk score, Bloc Haus offers the ultimate in communal living.

On the ground level of Bloc Haus is the first 1700 SF shared apartment, with three private bedrooms, closets, and baths. These private quarters open up to the floor’s common areas, including a kitchen, dining room, laundry, storage, patio, and entry. There are three more 2100 SF shared units on the upper three floors, each with eight private bedrooms, closets, and baths. The remaining area is dedicated to shared living spaces, with an open layout and windows organized to enhance privacy and light. On the front of the building is a 670 SF commercial space, which creates a connection to the street, while the exterior cladding and modern curb appeal blend with the surrounding environment.

Bloc Haus aims to solve a social issue in Seattle by providing housing for residents in urban, walkable neighborhoods. The mixed-use communal apartment concept promotes both independence and shared living, while the street-level commercial space helps the building engage with the public. Ideas of harmony and simplicity are expressed in this mixed-use apartment building that creatively accommodates Seattle’s growing density.

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