Optimism Brewing Company

Optimism Brewing Company

Architect
Olson Kundig
Location
1158 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122, USA | View Map
Project Year
2015
Category
Bars
Aaron Leitz

Optimism Brewing Company

Olson Kundig as Architects

The owners of this 400-seat urban brewery on Seattle’s Capitol Hill wanted the aesthetics of the former 1920s-era auto showroom and service area to reflect the utilitarian nature of the work performed within it. The design team was able to retain the ambiance of the original masonry building while still incorporating necessary energy and structural upgrades.


The focus of the brewery is on the brewing process, with functioning vessels taking center stage. This brewhouse area faces an open bar, with tables and chairs incorporated into the space. Sandblasted original concrete flooring and board-formed concrete walls underscore the intention of the working brewery.


The owners were able to retain the building’s single-pane windows — a defining feature of the space — despite energy codes that suggested their replacement. The team worked closely with the mechanical consultant to incorporate energy-saving upgrades elsewhere in the structure, boosting the brewery’s overall energy efficiency and allowing the original windows to remain. 


The design adds a 3,000 square foot mezzanine to the 16,000 square foot building, with steel handrails and glulam beams that complement the structure’s heavy timber frame. The existing catwalk provides egress from the upper mezzanine and maintenance access to the brewing tanks. Steel bracing required to meet seismic codes is incorporated into the overall design.


During demolition, the team discovered original old-growth fir roof trusses at the rear of the building. The trusses were removed and steel columns added in, prepping the area for a future rooftop deck. The old-growth timber remains in the brewery, however, taking on new life as custom furniture. Large fir slabs are joined with rolling steel frames to form movable tables that are used throughout the seating area.


Project Team: Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Principal; Angus MacGregor, Project Manager; Daniel Ralls, Justin Helmbrecht, Project Staff; Debbie Kennedy, Interiors


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