Habitat for Humanity at Rainier Vista

Project Description

33 affordable townhouses for first time home buyers
Part of the Rainier Vista Master Plan

Client and Contractor:  Habitat for Humanity-Seattle/South King County

The Seattle Housing Authority gave two blocks at the northwest end of Rainier Vista to Habitat for Humanity.  Both blocks are located on Martin Luther King Jr Way and have excellent transit connections including light rail access. Habitat’s two blocks have a total of 33 townhouses arranged in six buildings.

For their first block (Block 4) Habitat requested twelve units strongly based on the typical townhouse units designed for the Seattle Housing Authority’s blocks at Rainier Vista.  With Habitat’s primarily volunteer labor force, building townhouses rather than single family homes proved to be challenging. Three story townhouses are particularly difficult for them to construct.  For Habitat’s second block (Block 5) at Rainier Vista, Tonkin Architecture designed townhouses more specifically targeted to meet Habitat’s unique requirements including universal design, green construction, and relatively simple construction.

Many of Habitat’s clients are multi-generational families, which is a factor in Habitat’s strong commitment to universal design.  Every unit on both blocks has at least one fully accessible entrance.  Larger units have a ground floor bedroom and an accessible bathroom for older family members.  For easier construction all the Block 5 townhouses are two story units with simple roofs.  Block 5 was designed for LEED for Homes gold certification; large areas of the roofs are oriented for future solar panel installation.