Riverhouse

  • Location: Lynden, WA
  • Client: Whatcom County Housing Authority
  • Size: 51 Units

The Whatcom County Housing Authority, in 1995, determined that their existing housing stock did not adequately serve seniors. To remedy the situation, a site at the southern edge of Lynden, Washington was secured, and Zervas was retained.

The site presented several challenges. Soils tests revealed a deep layer of peat over most of the site, and the flood plain of the nearby Nooksack River rendered the southern half of the property unbuildable. On the positive side, the site enjoys dramatic views of Mount Baker to the east, and the surrounding countryside to the south. Two ponds were created onsite to collect and pre-treat storm water, interconnected with a small waterfall. A pedestrian path, with a bridge over the waterfall, connects the ponds to the facility.

The design features 51 one- and two-bedroom apartments, most oriented toward the south and east views. The building is arranged in an “L” configuration, with the parking hidden from the road in the “L”. The main entry opens into a two story lobby, open to views over the ponds and Mount Baker. Each end and the middle of the “L” contain additional two story “gathering” spaces, with a variety of amenities for the tenants.

The exterior design scheme was to create a number of variations in the facade in order to “break down” the perceived mass of the building, and provide individuality to the apartments. This also creates a more humanly scaled environment, and relates well to the adjacent single family residences.

National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
2002 Award of Excellence

Projects in Multi-Family Dwellings