The Piston & Ring building is located on 12th Avenue between East Pike and East Madison Streets, part of Seattle’s original “auto row” neighborhood from the early 1900s. The building’s heavy timber parallel chord truss design allowed for an almost 25-foot ceiling height and no interior columns, ideal for maneuvering and showing off new cars. Over the years, the building was home to a series of auto dealers, auto supply and auto repair shops, including the Piston & Ring company.
Our renovation in 2006 restored the street façade with operable transom windows over glazed roll-up garage doors. We carefully exposed the original board-formed concrete walls, wood floors and ceiling, and Douglas fir roof trusses that are up to three feet in girth. A mezzanine seating area was created above the main floor restaurant, and a section of roof was peeled off the back of the building to create a two-level terrace and a west-facing window wall that fills the interior spaces with light. The extraordinary height of the original basement allowed us to insert a new lower daylight level of retail and outdoor spaces that connect to the courtyard of the Chophouse Row project.