baylis architects, bellevue, wash.

Italy's celebrated hill towns were the inspiration for Brezza ("breeze" in Italian) Condominiums, a multifamily complex located on a steep hillside above Kirkland, Wash. "This site was a real challenge," says architect Brian Brand, but it afforded spectacular views of Seattle and easy access to Kirkland's rapidly developing downtown.

Brand's modern interpretation of a classic Italian model features two separate buildings, one a full story lower than the other. The spacious courtyard between them relieves the vertical mass of the buildings and allowed Brand to carve out apartments with a wide variety of different views.

Judges admired the "sophisticated and refined playfulness" of the design, and the way the massing is broken down by terraced top floors that reduce overall scale. Brand's siting and judicious use of materials also won plaudits from our judges--more high praise for a bravura performance with Italian flair.

project architect: Brian Brand, AIA, Baylis Architects
developer: Tom McCracken and Jim Jordan, Brezza Limited Partnership, Seattle
general contractor: Rafn Co., Bellevue
landscape architect: Randy Allworth and Holly Moore, The Berger Partnership, Seattle
interior designer: Brian Brand and Robert Reed of Baylis Architects, and Jo Krueger of Jo Krueger Interior Design, Kirkland
project size: 915 to 2,065 square feet per unit
site size: 1.05 acres
construction cost: $145 per square foot
sales price: $150,000 to $750,000 per unit
units in project: 75
photographer: Steve Keating Photography