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Optimism Brewery

Seattle, Washington

Optimism Brewery

Seattle, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

The owners of this 400-seat urban brewery on Seattle’s Capitol Hill wanted to maintain the aesthetics of the former 1920s-era auto showroom and service area in order to reflect the utilitarian nature of the brewing performed within. The design team was able to retain the ambiance of the original masonry building while still incorporating necessary energy and structural upgrades.

During demolition, the team discovered original old-growth fir roof trusses at the rear of the building. The trusses were removed and steel columns added in, prepping the area for a future rooftop deck. The old-growth timber remains in the brewery, taking on new life as custom furniture. Large fir slabs are joined with rolling steel frames to form movable tables used throughout the seating area.

The focus of the brewery is on the brewing process, with functioning vessels taking center stage. This brewhouse area faces an open bar, with tables and chairs incorporated into the space. Sandblasted original concrete flooring and board-formed concrete walls underscore the intention of the working brewery.

The owners were able to retain the building’s single-pane windows—a defining feature of the space—despite energy codes that suggested their replacement. The team worked closely with the mechanical consultant to incorporate energy-saving upgrades elsewhere in the structure, boosting the brewery’s overall energy efficiency and allowing the original windows to remain.

Team