In 2008, DPD launched an effort to update the design guidelines that are used to evaluate multifamily and commercial projects under the Design Review Program. We are happy to announce that on December 16, 2013, the City Council approved new citywide design guidelines and 18 sets of revised neighborhood-specific design guidelines. The new citywide guidelines replace the guidelines originally drafted in 1993 and entitled Design Review: Guidelines for Multifamily and Commercial Buildings, with the updated version entitled Seattle Design Guidelines.
Seattle’s Design Review Program has helped shape development of new multifamily and commercial projects for the past 17 years. Design guidelines serve as the foundation of the program, articulating expectations for quality design and setting the framework for the design review process. As such, it is critical that they keep pace with the City’s policy direction and emergent issues in architecture and urban design. Toward that end, we have completed the first substantial update of the citywide guidelines in the history of the Program.
The revised guidelines:
- Bring the original citywide design guidelines forward to the present day, incorporating lessons learned from the development of neighborhood-specific guidelines and almost 17 years of projects reviewed under the Seattle Design Review Program.
- Update the format and clarify language in the neighborhood-specific design guidelines to make it easier to seamlessly apply both sets of guidelines—citywide and neighborhood—to evaluate future development projects.
- Maximize the effectiveness of the guidelines as a tool in encouraging better design while keeping the guidelines clear and easy to use by applicants, Board members, and the public.
- Incorporate current best practices in design guidelines and address issues not contemplated during the drafting of the original design guidelines in 1993.
The guidelines can be obtained from the City Clerk’s website.
If you have questions, please contact:
Aly Pennucci, Senior Planner
Lisa Rutzik, Design Review Program Manager