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Amazon office building doubles as emergency housing for Seattle families

Office Buildings

Amazon office building doubles as emergency housing for Seattle families

The Amazon office dedicated eight floors to Mary's Place, a nonprofit that supports families experiencing homelessness.


By Quinn Purcell, Managing Editor | December 1, 2023
Mary’s Place Family Center for families experiencing homelessness
Mary’s Place Family Center, Seattle, Wash. Photo © Benjamin Benschneider, courtesy Graphite Design Group

In collaboration with Amazon, Graphite Design Group designed Mary’s Place Family Center, a nonprofit supporting families experiencing homelessness. The center provides emergency housing and services to families inside the downtown Seattle Amazon office building.

The unusual location for services of this kind serves over 300 people per day. Mary's Place spreads across eight of the office's floors—all designed by Graphite—testing the status quo for its experimental approach to homelessness support.

Emergency Housing for Seattle Families

Each floor provides various services and amenities for the sheltered:

  • Level P1: Parking, Storage, Facilities Workshop
  • Level G: Loading Dock and Staging, Storage, Dogwash
  • Level 1: Lobby, Multipurpose Room, Conference Room
  • Level 2: Diversion Sleep Floor
  • Level 3: Standard Sleep Floor
  • Level 4: Popsicle Place
  • Level 5: Popsicle Place
  • Level 6: Welcome and Intake, Heat Treat, Staff Area, Marketplace
  • Level 7: Dining Room, Full Kitchen, Play Area, Interfaith Prayer Room
  • Level 8: Rec Room, Terrace, Laundry, Games, Large Conference Room

 

Family in emergency housing shelter
Photo © Benjamin Benschneider, courtesy Graphite Design Group

While designing the center, Graphite invited Mary's Place staff to contribute ideas to best support guests. The group brainstormed words, images, and scenarios that eventually helped craft the space into a community-serving shelter.

Mary’s Place Family Center was also recognized at the AIA Seattle Honor Awards and the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Awards for its novel approach to urban development. Graphite believes the project acts as a model for how other cities can activate underutilized space to answer larger urban housing challenges while balancing growth and social equity.

On the Building Team:
Owner: Amazon, Global Real Estate and Facilities team and Mary's Place
Developer: Seneca Group
Architect: Graphite Design Group
Structural/Civil Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Electrical/Acoustic Engineer: Stantec
Mechanical/Energy Design: WSP
GC: GLY Construction

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