In the technology-focused South Lake Union neighborhood, Ascent is an architectural tribute to both the ones and zeros that make our digital lives possible, and the Pacific Northwest’s ubiquitous water in many forms. The building’s pixelated patterning alludes to rain drops, and is achieved through fractured, vertical ‘light’ and contrasting ‘dark’ window wall spandrel playfully composed around vision glass. The project is married to Marlow, a mid-rise structure, also designed by Weber Thompson.

Client Name



Seattle, WA

Initial Completion Date

Q4 2018


Landscape Architecture
Environmental Graphic Design

PROJECT Overview

24 Stories
457,332 GSF
291,774 SF Residential
2,127 SF Retail
251 Residential Units
530 Parking Stalls
58,801 SF Site


LEED Gold Certified


2019 Seattle Business Magazine Skyline Awards
Gold Winner

2019 AGC Build Washington Awards
Construction of Excellence Award – Private Building Over $100M


Amanda Keating, AIA
Principal in Charge

Rachael Meyer
Landscape Architecture Principal


Weber Thompson provided comprehensive architectural and landscape architectural design services for Ascent. The project’s South Lake Union location inspired the dynamic architecture and lush landscape palette.

Photography: Turner construction, Weber Thompson, GREYSTAR 

Ascent Architecture

Located on one of the more southerly Fairview super-blocks in South Lake Union, Ascent provides much-needed upscale housing in a neighborhood suddenly dense with new commercial office buildings. Architecturally, the playful façade references patterns of light and dark created by vertical raindrops, and the dance of light across the surface of nearby Lake Union. Ascent’s binary staccato rhythm of pattern and light is dramatic and eye-catching. Along with luxury features inside the amenities and units, the Ascent team managed to pack a lot of design into a relatively small footprint.

Architecture, illuminated

A defining feature of Ascent is the glowing vertical ribbon that marks the building’s main entry. Fabricated of a glowing LED ‘tape’ element, it twists and turns around the entry canopy eventually shooting straight toward the sky before bending 90 degrees to mark the generous amenity roof deck’s canopy. At the base, a podium of rich, dark brick and concrete establishes a solid, heavy base from which the contrasting light and airy tower rises.

Bustling retail

Retail along the base of the building is highly-transparent to allow retailers good visibility and the option to roll open sliding doors to spill out onto the sidewalk. Lighting and canopies have also been thoughtfully designed to further enhance the street-level experience.

Ascent Landscape Architecture

Ascent’s location provides dramatic opportunities for pedestrians to interact with the building and the neighborhood, as well as breathtaking rooftop views of Lake Union, the Space Needle, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain Range.

A steep grade

With over 30 feet of grade change from one end to the other, Ascent’s lush plantings at the street level help to soften the interaction of people and cars along Fairview Avenue. High-quality paving materials help to differentiate the major pedestrian entries for the different uses within the building.

The corner of the tower has been set back significantly to create an inviting outdoor entry plaza with integrated signage and wayfinding.

Ascent SLU courtyard

Hidden courtyards

Two west-facing internal courtyards serve as a quiet urban oasis and provide relief from the hustle and bustle of South Lake Union, with one providing an internal space for retail overflow. The low rise roof amenities include barbecues and a generous terrace for recreation. The view from the tower to the lower roof amenity space is enlivened by an expansive green-roof that will change with the seasons. The highlight of the tower’s roof deck is the south-facing custom spa which provides dramatic year-round views of the Seattle skyline.

Ascent Environmental Graphics

Weber Thompson’s Graphic Design Studio was solicited to provide a unified, stylish and cohesive approach to the building’s signage and applied graphics. With a unique ability to see the big picture and work directly with the building’s design team, Weber Thompson’s graphic design team was the perfect fit for the job. Inside the building, wayfinding signage and branding elements fit right in as though considered from day one.

Ascent Graphic Design

A skyward climb

Any building’s main entrance provides an opportunity to make a big statement. At Ascent, the entry signage packs a punch by playing on the building’s concept itself. The main entry sign is inset into the façade and tilted backwards slightly as a nod toward the building’s name. Inset lighting creates a dramatic effect at night, and the sculpted forms cast dynamic shadows as the sun moves across the sky during the day.

“Ascent’s binary staccato rhythm of pattern and light is dramatic and eye-catching. Along with luxury features inside the amenities and units, we’ve managed to pack a lot of design into a relatively small footprint.”

Client Statement

“The rooftop amenity space is very good, with lots of places to hang out and well equipped for grilling, hanging out by a fire pit, hot tubbing with the skyline view, or hanging out inside on a couch if it's a little too windy.”

Julien B, Resident

“The amenities are unbelievable and truly pay for themselves. Would recommend Ascent to anyone who wants to live in affordable luxury! ”

Sarai M, resident

“The apartments are beautiful, the view from the roof is breathtaking.”

Yashpal S, Resident

Ascent in the News

3 new Pacific Northwest buildings on the rise
Luxe Magazine
October 18, 2018

SLU apartments merge modernity and nature
The Seattle Times
September 7, 2018

251 units open soon in 25-story Ascent SLU
Daily Journal of Commerce
August 20, 2018 

Amazon HQ-adjacent residential tower coming soon
Curbed Seattle
July 15, 2015 

Apartment developer doubles down on lot next to Amazon HQ
Puget Sound Business Journal
July 14, 2015

Early design renderings for a Fairview tower
Curbed Seattle
December 16, 2014 

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