Biophilia informs design of The Prow in Seattle by Aidlin Darling Design

Biophilia informs design of The Prow in Seattle by Aidlin Darling Design

American studio Aidlin Darling Design has created a meeting environment for online travel company Expedia Group that features a wing-shaped green roof and stone and glass walls.

Prow is located on Expedia Group’s 40-acre (16-hectare) corporate campus in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood. The campus borders Elliott Bay, home to the Port of Seattle – one of America’s busiest ports.

Prow was conceived as a “biophilic retreat” for staff members and company executives—a place that would help connect people with the natural environment.

Prow is a corner meeting facility for Expedia Group

To design the building, Aidlin Darling Design, a San Francisco-based studio, drew on the landscape and architectural concepts of form and function.

“The focus was to design a retreat that is integrated with the surrounding environment and away from the daily office, allowing employees to clear their minds and thus foster innovation,” said the studio.

The design was informed by a master plan and site plan created by San Francisco landscape firm Surface Design.

Its design is based on the local landscape

It features a series of “cascading terraces” that descend from campus office buildings to the waterfront and a public park.

The plateaus are lined with long, curving walls made of rock – an element that heavily influenced Aidlin Darling’s design of the retreat building.

“The Prow is discreetly integrated into the landscape as an extension of these gestural landscape walls,” the studio said.

The walls are made of wood, glass and stone

The one-story building has an angular floor plan and is set into the sloping site. The walls are made of wood, glass and stone.

At the top of the building is an elongated, vegetated roof that resembles an arm or river when viewed from the waterfront to the south. When viewed from the north, it appears to blend into the grassy landscape.

Aidlin Darling Design described the structure as “hidden in plain sight”.

“The attraction is hidden in plain sight, with a roof that mirrors the plane planted on the ground, but simply rises at one end,” the team said.

According to the architects, the building’s low profile helped preserve views of Elliott Bay and Mount Rainier in the distance.

The campus is surrounded by multiple modes of transportation

Its “vector form” refers to movement, where the campus is surrounded by multiple modes of transportation, from boats of all kinds to cars, bicycles, and scooters.

Additionally, airplanes are often spotted overhead as they approach and depart from Seattle’s main airport.

A large table appears in the meeting room

“The Prow’s wing shape symbolizes the Expedia Group’s mission to help people in the art of travel – much of which begins with flying,” the team said. “The rooftop plane thus becomes an abstracted icon of global travel and adventure.”

Inside, the building has a meeting room and various support spaces. Outside you find a covered roof terrace that extends 50 feet (15 meters) above the courtyard.

This space also includes a casual seating area

The building’s northern entrance, which faces the office buildings, is marked by two black portals set within a stone wall, “representing the threshold between the everyday and the aspirational.”

Once inside, you are treated to awe-inspiring views of the water through the glass walls to the south and west. Other walls are strong.

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The meeting room is divided into three separate areas. One features a large table by George Nakashima Woodworkers that seats up to 20 people. Other areas have casual seating, with one centered around a fireplace.

The team prioritized the use of natural materials, including sawn cedar and Douglas fir, to emphasize a connection to nature and the Pacific Northwest.

“The main goal was to create a spiritual haven that soothes the mind and body and acts as a catalyst for inspiring thought,” the team said.

Aidlin Darling Design prioritized the use of natural materials

Other projects by Aidlin Darling Design include a remote house in California’s Palm Desert nestled among boulders and pinyon trees, and a family residence in Silicon Valley consisting of interlocking volumes clad in zinc, cedar and stucco.

Photo by Adam Rouse.

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