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Why do so many new apartment buildings in Seattle look the same?

A photo illustration of an assortment of new apartment buildings from around Seattle. (Photos by Matt M. McKnight/Crosscut; Illustration by Eric Keto)

As Seattle continues to boom, so does the market for apartment buildings. From Ballard to Beacon Hill, towering cranes presage the arrival of mid-rise apartment buildings, soon followed by new neighbors. Curbed Seattle recently reported that in 2017 alone, the city added 7,500 new residential units. And often the buildings that have housed those units are strikingly and, for some, depressingly similar. You know the look: towers clad in candy-colored paneling. Love them or hate them, the look and feel of these structures goes way beyond the facade. We asked local architect Rick Mohler to deconstruct Seattle’s new apartment buildings.      

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Why do so many new apartment buildings in Seattle look the same?