Box wall

box-wall-1We finally have finished our plywood box wall! The light catches the plywood grain a little differently, highlighting the alternating steel stairs to the mezzanine pinned off the concrete, are the next undertaking. cast architecture office plywood box wall

The depth of the boxes are modulated to create niches for models, samples and audiovisual equipment.

Saratoga Residence under construction

saratoga residence

 Construction on the Saratoga Residence is proceeding very well, and the overall massing is taking shape.  We should have the rest of the steel installed in the next couple of weeks, then all the back up framing can be removed an we'll really be able to show off the open plan, but for now here is a view of the future garden in foreground and mudroom:

Saratoga residence design by Matt Hutchins and CAST steel moment frame

Sun Meadow Escape construction update

A vacation retreat in Mazama Washington that emphasizes a seamless flow between the indoors and outdoors, clean lines, and an indestructible materials pallet. After a long summer of groundwork and extensive concrete formwork the framing has begun - the Sun Meadow Escape is taking shape!

View of the northwest corner of the home. A large covered patio adjacent to the public areas of the home allows activities to flow seamlessly from the indoors to the outdoors.


A private master suite at the southeast corner nestles up against the adjacent aspen grove.


Shou-sugi-ban--charred cedar siding

I am building a little painting studio in my backyard, and wanted to try out 'shou-sugi-ban,' a traditional japanese technique of burning the wood siding to create a thin charcoal layer to protect the wood, in lieu of staining/painting.

I tied three boards together in a triangle with baling wire, and stood the bundles on a small fire.  The fire wicks up the inside of the bundle after about a minute, with flames coming out of the top after about two minutes.  I then flipped the bundle, burnt from the other end for another 30-45 seconds.

Once I had the surface fully burnt, I laid them down, clipped the wire and extinguished the fire.  I had to use a blow torch to touch up the areas along the edge that didn't get charred.  I have seen some people use a roofer's torch to blacken the surface, then brush off the soot and apply Penofin, but I wanted the full charcoal layer.


And here is the shed with the siding up!

It was a bit of an adventure to maneuver the 8' planks while they are on fire, and messy to deal with (since I kept the charcoal layer intact), but I love the texture and the way it shifts between silver and black in the light.


Rainier Beach Urban Farm--Community Meeting

If you are interested in urban agriculture and would like to share your ideas to shape the Rainier Beach Urban Farm, please join us Saturday, July 28th from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm for an open event to discuss the project!  Stay for the community picnic or just get your hands dirty during the drop-in work party every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.


Ho Residence

We've been working on a house on the shores of Lake Washington near Seward Park. It will feature some fantastic window walls, plenty of outdoor living space, and an interior bridge over the living room/entry to connect the dual suites upstairs.  More to come!...

Rainier Beach Urban Farm

In collaboration with Seattle Tilth, the Friends of R.B.U.F.W., and the Berger Partnership, CAST will be designing an urban farm in Seattle.  The site is a former municipal nursery in Rainier Beach--10 acres of mostly wetland with some hoop houses at the north end.  We'll be undertaking the challenge to not only make a model for urban agriculture, we'll also be greatly increasing the ecological function of the wetlands.

This project is in one of the most diverse zip codes in the nation, and we'll be involving the community to shape the design, as well as creating facilities for small scale commercial farmers, entrepreneurs, and other programs such as Seattle Youth Garden Works.  The hope is to make a community hub centered on growing and sharing food.

The first community design meeting is June 19th on site (time TBD).  Please come and share your vision with us!

Chicken Coop for the Institute for Women's Excellence, Rwamagana, Rwanda.

We helped out a great organization, Orphans to Ambassadors with a pro bono design and donation for a chicken coop to help feed 423 orphans at the Institute for Women's Excellence in Rwanda.  During the month of May, they build the coop, some rocket stoves, and some rainwater harvesting projects for this and other orphanages in the area.  Great work!

Hopefully, we'll have the chance to help out with more their future projects!

Please support them with a donation!


We've just about wrapped up another project we're really excited about, the Anderson Residence. All that remains is a stretch of sunny weather long enough to allow the painters to finish up the exterior painting (we've had some nice sunny days this spring but not too many in a row).

The Anderson residence is a second story addition and first floor renovation of a 1940's home that transformed a traditional divided plan into a contemporary open plan filled with natural light.

The new design simplifies and streamlines the first floor, while the new second floor provides additional space for a growing family. The dining room is a light filled double height space with an adjacent floating stairway that creates a visual center for the home.

A combination of Japanese inspired detailing with modern ideas about living and space permeate the home.

The Contractor, Model Remodel, did a fantastic job from framing to details and undertook all the legwork required to achieve a 4 star Built Green certification. I would like to send out a big thank you to the clients, the contractor and all the individuals who have contributed to this fantastic home.

Contractor: Model Remodel / Photos: Tim Matsui /

Urban Intervention at the Seattle Center-- a vision for the next fifty years

In collaboration with the Berger Partnership ,Via Architecture, and Rushing, we put together a competition proposal for the replacement of Memorial Stadium and a new vision for the Center as a whole.

The design is an organic and topographic intervention that flows through the Center and surrounding neighborhoods, creating new connections, opportunities for new programs, and experiences at the Center. It creates a dense, flexible fabric stitched together with multi-modal transit to bring in new audiences, local/daily users, and new amenities for regional visitors.

Some of the important features:


Right now the Center acts as an island in the city, but should be a hub linking neighborhoods rather than separating them. To that end, we're showing a linkage through the Bay to Lake trail, a transit center with bus, Rapid Ride, sub grade parking, and a new loop of the streetcar. The northern edge, bounded by Mercer will have a new lid park to bring in foot/bike traffic from Queen Anne and a plaza at the corner of Mercer and 5th. Broad Street becomes a greenway linking to SAM Sculpture Park to Lake Union. In effect, it's location makes it an ideal 'transit oriented park' to draw Seattleites to and through the Center.

Layered landscape:

The new topography defines the Center Green, an organic open space at the heart that spills out in all directions. Memorial Stadium is replaced by a field with a 'kop' style hill as seating, perfect for multi-use such as a musical performance space.  From 5th, the landscape opens up for a vista to the International Fountain. Underneath the Center Green, we have a series of public event spaces, storefronts for fringe/alternative cultural institutions to colocate and share resources, layers of parking, and finally a grid of ground source heat pumps to lessen energy use for the Center overall.

We didn't stop at the boundaries of the original 9 acre site, but extended the idea to carve out new access from Uptown and the meandering pathways that run through the Center Green terminate at a bridge to the apex of Key Arena--a great new public view point to downtown and the Sound.

Expressive Environmental Infrastructure:

Beyond Seattle 2030, the design begins to illustrate the path toward making the world's first Living Building District. The goal is to create a beneficial closed loop system for using on site resources and expressing the infrastructure so visitors can see, understand, and take the lessons of sustainability home. Floating above the landscape, there is a layer of solar canopy (about 150K SF) to generate energy for the spaces on the 9 acre site. We also did a first pass on other locations for solar throughout the Center, and could easily add twice that amount on existing roofs and walls of other center buildings. The draped landscape collects storm water and purifies it through a series of rain gardens and native landscape.

The Center as a cultural incubator:

We're also proposing a mix of new, smaller multi use spaces to support the growth of new cultural generators, like SIFF and KEXP.  Tucked under the knoll overlooking the performance/field, we are proposing a new multi-use performance/community space which can be configured like the Center's Northwest Rooms or opened up for larger events. At the corner of Mercer and 5th, we've opened up a new urban plaza that acts as both a local Queen Anne gateway and spill out space for the community space and cultural incubators.

Although we were not selected as a finalist for the competition, I think we put together a very forward looking, connective, and sustainable solution which would do the city proud.

Special thanks to Studio 216 for the help with the renderings!

Seattle Center Urban Intervention competition-sneak peak

Soon we'll be able to post our design concept for the revitalization of the Seattle Center, as part of the Urban Intervention competition, but here is a little sneak peak:

Once they announce the finalists, we'll be able to release the full content of our proposal, as well and give full credit to all the great collaborators we worked with.


Phinney Ridge Home Fair 2012

Stefan, Tim and I will be set up on the main floor (room 1).  Drop by and see us!

We've had a booth for eight or nine years, and it's always a good show--lots of new products, and a chance to talk with contractors, architects, etc in a no-pressure atmosphere.

CAST elevates Tim Hammer to Principal

In December, Stefan and I asked Tim to become a full partner in CAST architecture.  Tim has been with us since 2006, and has done some fantastic work, including the Artalejo-LacasAnderson and Bookloft residences.

Tim's work has been influenced by his interest in traditional Japanese architecture, small space design and Urban density issues. His path has been fueled by an 18-month research scholarship to study urban housing in Japan while a graduate student. This interest has most recently manifested itself in his efforts advocating for the passage of the Seattle Backyard Cottage ordinance. He is currently engaged in the design of efficient and elegant homes and cottages in various Seattle neighborhoods.

Tim is a registered architect in the State of Washington. He received a master of Architecture from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Art and Design from Montana State University.

Mid Century Modern Addition / Remodel

This remodel and addition to a classic Tucker & Shield Mid Century Modern home in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle, strengthens the connection of rooms to one another, the public portions of the house to the site, and updates the finishes of this 1955 residence while staying true to the spirit of the original design.

A new day lit stair well creates a logical circulation path between the bedroom wing of the split-level, and the public spaces of the house, creating a more fluid transition to the second floor living.  The new family room addition builds off the home’s original elemental language of brick, wood and glass, providing a deck to take in the expansive views of Lake Washington - Leveraging the house's connection to a quintessential Seattle site.

A special thanks to the project manager Rich Denny of High Country Contractors for being a great partner on this project!