9/18/2018 | Posted at 12:20 pm

624 Yale, A Case Study on Healthy Design

People in the U.S. spend 90% of their time inside, which presents both a challenge and opportunity for designers to create healthy indoor spaces [1]. At GGLO, Interior Design Principal Kimberly Frank and her team intentionally choreograph spaces that embrace social, emotional, physical, and mental well being: an ideal blend for healthy, sustainable design. The firm’s Interiors Team integrated all four wellness concepts into the newly completed 624 Yale Apartments, a refined and dynamic multi-family building located in Seattle’s growing South Lake Union neighborhood.

Though GGLO has embraced wellness concepts for years, now more than ever the topic of health and wellness in design is on the rise. The industry response to this phenomena comes in the development and launch of new certification systems like WELL and recently, *FitWel.

Recently named a FitWel Ambassador, Frank urges the importance of shifting sustainable design priorities from buildings, to people. “At GGLO, we believe that long-term usability and desirability of buildings and spaces is a big part of true sustainability in multi-family residential projects. It’s a priority beyond aesthetics,” said Frank.


Social, Emotional, Physical, and Mental Wellness

Increasing the health of residents is a unique task tied directly to user experience. Frank and her team curated a collection of complimentary amenities for 624 Yale to meet the needs of an evolving and growing multi-generational target market of predominately tech and bio-tech workers in SLU. This diversification of use and appeal strengthened the opportunity for connection and community building, thus promoting key wellness concepts for residents.

From quiet individual nooks to social bar-like environments, the project aims to maximize resident experience by enabling social, emotional, physical, and mental wellness. Visual and physical connection, scale, size, orientation, volume, solar and view orientation all contribute to the unique experience of each amenity.


Social: Cloud Room

Positioned at the top of the building, the Cloud Room has uninterrupted views of Downtown Seattle and Lake Union. With an indoor-outdoor bar element and a private dining room, the space is more than a rooftop hangout. It’s programmed for multiple groups, with private rooms and natural alcoves which can be separated by operable walls, drapery, and exterior furnishing to support single individuals, four or more separate groups at once, or combined for one large event.


Emotional: Habitat

The Habitat is a reflective and contemplative space perched high above the commotion of the streets with areas that provide a relaxing sanctuary. There are nook-like escapes for quiet activities, and porous edges where indoor and outdoor seamlessly overlap. The indoor space is separated by a retractable wall which, when opened, exposes a seating patio and yoga deck. The planted foreground promotes a visual and physical immersion in nature with native and adaptive plantings. The design team envisioned the space to offer retreat and refuge from the city.


Physical: Stair

The feature stair in 642 Yale adheres to one of FitWel’s building rating systems: the Stair Strategy. It does this by being accessible and visible – it is an internal stair that connects all residential floors and to the building entrance. The stairs are equally visible as the elevators from the interior and exterior of the building, and are centrally located to encourage use. The design incorporates high-quality materials of steel and wood, not typically found in an exit stair. There are large windows along the stairwell to maximize daylight and allow spectacular views of downtown. The stair is a beaconing architectural feature when viewed from the street, and invites residents to explore the city from a vertical vista.


Mental: Idea Hub

The Idea Hub in 624 Yale is a co-working space that can accommodate a range of activities and different work styles. The spaces allow for focus and productivity through shared zones and private workrooms. The area embraces natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows, with an adjacent bar top and banquette seating to allow for views of the courtyard and streetscape below. The spaces interact with each other to inspire connections, communication, and idea sharing.




  1. https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/research-highlight/impact-green-buildings-cognitive-function
  2. https://www.sigearth.com/fitwel/


*FitWel is a building rating system for commercial and multi-family interiors that provides guidelines on how to design and operate healthier buildings [2], a certification program conceived by the Center for Active Design. Designers can become FitWel Ambassadors, which identify them as leaders in FitWel’s healthy building movement.