The Othello Square development arose as a direct response to the displacement of long-time residents of the Othello neighborhood in South Seattle. Orenda, a workforce housing development situated within this development, unites a vision for housing, healthcare and early education.

Client Name

Spectrum Development Solutions


Seattle, WA


Interior Design
Landscape Architecture


Jeff Reibman
Principal in Charge

Rachael Meyer
Landscape Architecture Principal

Bernadette Kelly
Interior Design Principal

Program Overview

325,000 SF Residential
176 Residential Units
7 Stories

Completion Date

Q4 2021




Weber Thompson provided architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture services for Orenda. Additionally, Weber Thompson oversaw the master plan for the larger Othello Square development.

photography: Moris Moreno / renderings: Weber Thompson

Orenda Architecture

Orenda provides neighborhood housing atop the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) and an early learning childcare facility. It helps minimize displacement in the Othello neighborhood by providing workforce housing, healthcare and childcare.

Orenda at Othello Square

Authentic community engagement

The building program design and artistic expression were born out of a deep community engagement effort spanning over two years, with a goal to reflect the cultural richness of the multiple communities that will use the facility. The early learning childcare facility provides care for infants to preschool-aged children and is a convenient and safe place for families living in the building, working in the clinic, or living in the Othello neighborhood.

Orenda at Othello Square

Housing for the people

The residential portion of the building includes approximately 176 units of workforce housing. With a mix of studio, 1-bedroom, 1-bedroom + den, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom units, the building can be home to a variety of people and lifestyles. While studios may be ideal for a single person, 3-bedroom units may be of interest to families or roommates. The diverse unit mix reflects the evolving needs of the Othello neighborhood.

Orenda Interior Design

Located within the future “Othello Square” campus at the corner of South Othello Street and Martin Luther King Way in Seattle, Orenda provides 176 units of workforce housing.

Globally inspired design

Inspired by the local community’s cultural diversity, the playful, layered and inviting design of Orenda is an elegant balance of modern and artisanal styles. A sunny color palette and textile-inspired finishes create pleasant spaces that feel handcrafted. Packed with color, tactile materials and thoughtful design, Orenda feels authentic and welcoming.

Photo of family unit in Orenda

Family-friendly units

The bright color palette continues in the units where two different color schemes are offered. In the kitchens, stylish pendants hang over the quartz countertop where blue or orange upper cabinets tastefully complement the matte black cabinets. The wood laminate flooring and the large bathrooms are family and pet friendly.

Photo of the lobby amenity space in Orenda

Colorful amenities

On the first floor, the lobby, community room and fitness room’s colorful patterns, finishes and lights tie the spaces together to create a warm first impression. The community room, with its window counter, conference table and tastefully designed coffee bar is the perfect place to work from home or wait for a ride. The rooftop lounge was designed to support flexible uses. A large welcoming kitchen and game room offer plenty of entertainment opportunities. The metal screen at the banquette creates an intimate nook in the otherwise open space and provides privacy between the lounge, game room and kitchen.

Orenda Landscape Architecture

The Othello Square master plan drove the landscape design for each of Othello Square’s developments, and Orenda is no exception. The landscape weaves together neighborhood history and diversity with a global perspective on plant selection and health.

Designing for health

Orenda is a building focused on health and wellness of all ages, but especially youth. A partnership with the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic and an early learning facility have factored heavily into the project. From inside the building, views of plants help promote healing and provide privacy from patient rooms. The vegetation is a curated selection of low-allergen plants that delights the senses without adversely affecting some visitors.

Creating a sense of place

Another primary goal for the landscape design was to transform a formerly inhospitable space – a bare lot along a busy thoroughfare – into a pleasing pedestrian corridor at the intersection of transit, jobs, retail and community. The landscape serves to soften this automobile-meets-pedestrian threshold and create a gateway to the internal open spaces of the Othello Square project. Furthermore, the landscape is a celebration of cultural expressions found in the Othello neighborhood. Patterns, colors, and textures abound at this lush and inviting community-centered development.

Orenda in the News

“This project has entailed probably one of the most extensive community input processes that I’ve ever seen in a real estate development project.”

Kristen Ryan, Barrientos RYAN

“Othello Square holds tremendous promise as a replicable model for preventing displacement and sparking equitable economic development. We believe the entire campus will stand as a strong and inspiring statement of what is possible when community leads.”

Othello Square Development Team

“[Weber Thompson] has a sensitivity to the community and actually being residents in the neighborhood made a difference.”

Tony To, Homesight Director

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