PAUL MICHAEL DAVIS ARCHITECTS, PLLC

Project rendering from street

Telephone Wire Townhouses


This project is a manifesto of sorts that takes on the emerging need 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, however, many artists 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. The project takes something ugly and tries to turn it into a virtue by organizing the poles and lines into a supporting grid for six cubist townhouses in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Within that grid, a mix of open, glassed-in, and enclosed spaces exist between the poles. Following the infrastructural language, cables span the poles as guardrails, sun shades, and lateral bracing.


Context images of telephone poles and wires in the sky in the surrounding Capitol Hill neighborhood

PAUL MICHAEL ARCHITECTS, PLLC               All Rights Reserved               1221 E Pike St #300 Seattle WA 98122  USA               (206) 890-9229