Paul Michael Davis Architects PLLC

Paul Michael Davis Architects PLLC

Seattle, WA


Telephone Wire Townhouses

This project is a manifesto of sorts that takes on the emerging needs in cities like Seattle for increased urban density that fits into an existing built environment.

But rather than respond to historic Craftsman or Victorian homes in the surrounding neighborhood, this design takes a different approach to its context.  It’s about embracing a part of our built environment that hasn’t really ever been addressed before—the messy, tangled lines in the sky supported by decomposing, creosote covered tree trunks.  

Architects are supposed to hate these.  We photoshop them out of our renderings and work on subtle ways to conceal the location where the services that power our 21st century lives enter our buildings.  From screen prints to high art, though, many artist have found beauty in the line-work in the sky created by our power and cable needs.  

This design follows the architectural theorist Robert Venturi’s preference for “messy vitality over obvious unity” in the built environment.  It takes something ugly and tries to turn it into a virtue by organizing the poles and lines into a supporting grid for 6 cubist townhouses in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  Within that grid, a mix of open, glassed in, and enclosed spaces span between the poles. Following the infrastructural language, cables span between the poles as guard rails, sun shades, and lateral bracing. 

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Seattle, WA, US
Firm Role: Architect