Dezeen Magazine

Seattle Convention Center Summit Building by LMN Architects

LMN Architects creates six-storey convention centre in downtown Seattle

Local studio LMN Architects has completed a convention centre in downtown Seattle with a six-storey central atrium and large wooden staircase.

Centrally located in the city, the Convention Center Summit building is a detached expansion of the original Seattle Convention Center Arch building, which sits nearby.

An exterior glass-enclosed staircase
LMN Architects have created a six-storey convention centre in downtown Seattle

The 5.1-million-square-foot (473,805 square metre) building was designed using a series of interconnected volumes that reflect the verticality of the dense urban location.

“The demand for increased density and tall, more efficient buildings is making a mark on urban centres around the world," said LMN Architects principal Leonardo da Costa. "With its striking architecture and multiple levels, the Seattle Convention Center Summit offers a sense of excitement and innovation that enlivens Seattle’s skyline."

A building made of multiple glass and steel volumes
The building is an expansion of an original convention centre that lies nearby

Clad in charcoal-black aluminium and stainless steel metal panels with curtain walls, the building spans six storeys.

The separation of distinct volumes is indicative of the building's program, which includes public event centres such as an exhibit hall, flexible space, meeting rooms, a rooftop greenspace and a 58,000-square-foot (5,400 square metres) ballroom on the topmost floor.

A convention center Seattle made of interconnect volumes
A series of volumes indicate the buildings interior program

A 225-foot-tall (68 metres) atrium was placed towards the entrance of the building and divides publically accessible spaces from more private meeting spaces such as the offices and a ballroom.

Visitors enter the lobby on the ground floor.

A central atrium spanning multiple floors
It features a large atrium and a grand wooden staircase

From the basement exhibition floor to the second-floor flex space, the atrium is partially enclosed, with two cutouts in the ceiling letting in light from above.

From the third level to the sixth, the atrium opens into one large rectangular space, culminating in a skylight at the top of the building.

A building with a large wooden staircase against the facade
Visitors traverse the interior using the wooden stair or escalators

Visitors traverse the various levels using escalators or a glass-enclosed staircase on the west-facing side of the building, which looks towards the Puget Sound.

The studio designed the staircase to jut out from the facade of the building, with the stepped steel underbelly exposed as a nod to Seattle's surrounding mountains.

A textured ceiling made made of interlocking wood texture
The interiors utilise materials typical of the Pacific Northwest

At the top of the structure is the massive ballroom, which occupies a jutting black-clad form that slopes up to a triple-height space. A roof terrace was placed on top of the building's lobby and public area, which also includes retail spaces.

The interior contains a variety of sustainable and local materials and was designed to reflect a Pacific Northwest sensibility, according to the studio.

"The Summit building has many unique interior spaces with materials that interpret the forest floor and tree canopy shadows," said studio principal Lori Naig. "And social gathering spaces embellished with the warmth of wood, crafted metal detailing, and vibrant colour accents."

"Wood and wood products are prominently featured throughout the interior of the building, from intricately crafted light fixtures to the design of several feature ceilings."

Large room with wooden planks hanging from ceiling with a bright carpet
There are multiple feature ceilings

Ceilings throughout the building contain suspended planks of salvaged or local wood, while other spaces have ceilings made of interlocking perforated metal.

Carpeted and concrete floors with gypsum walls and accents of natural stone and terrazzo complete the interior palette.

A textured ceiling made of perforated metald
They feature salvaged wood or interlocking metal screens

The studio said the building will become LEED Gold certified through sustainable techniques like the use of recycled materials, a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels installed on the rooftop.

The building also incorporates artwork from a number of local artists.

The Summit building is one of several projects recently completed by LMN architects in Washington state, including a mass-timber business school for the University of Washington and an expansive viewing platform atop a bridge.

The photography is by Tim Griffith.

More images

Seattle Convention Center Summit building by LMN Architects
First level plan
A plan of the Seattle Convention Center Summit building
Second level plan
A plan with large open space and two square atriums
Third level plan
A plan with central office blocks and atrium
Fourth level plan
A plan with central office blocks and atrium
Fifth level plan
Seattle Convention Center Summit building by LMN Architects
Sixth level plan
A building made of stacked volumes in Seattle
A building made of stacked volumes
An escalator descending into basement level exhibition hall
A lobby with large columns and an atrium
A large lobby area with exposed structural support beams
A man sitting at a bar counter overlooking a large wooden staircase
A large skylight
A textured ceiling made of suspended wooden planks
People sitting on a large wooden staircase
Close up of salvaged wood planks