zeroplus architects: Josh Brevoort and Lisa ChunTo the eyes of many, the Chinatown/International District (ID) is a goldmine filled with mysteries. Many professionals have considered to set foot in this historical neighborhood, but found themselves lost in translation.

zeroplus architects: Josh Brevoort and Lisa ChunTo the eyes of many, the Chinatown/International District (ID) is a goldmine filled with mysteries. Many professionals have considered to set foot in this historical neighborhood, but found themselves lost in translation.

Yet to Lisa Chun and Josh Brevoort, two architects who took a bold step to move their firm into the area in January, the dynamics means opportunities.   

“This neighborhood has so much vitality,” Chun said.  

“Part of what I love about the ID is its characters,” Brevoort said. “It is one of the neighborhoods in Seattle with the most potential.”

As owners of Zeroplus, an architecture firm founded since 1999, they have prepared to embrace the community with an open mind. As two professional architects, they are ready to share their skills and visions with the neighborhood.

The two architects have walked around Chinatown/ID many times. They began to think: It’s already pretty dense here, but could it be even denser?
Perhaps one of the many opportunities lies inside the empty warehouses in the area.

Walked into the office of Zeroplus located on S. Weller St., the scene immediately transformed. In comparison with the construction work going on around the old site of Fa-Shin Chan Temple, the team of Zeroplus seemed to have found its own tranquil creative zone.

Born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii, Chun said she got the best from her parents’ genes—her Japanese mother’s creativity and her Chinese father’s mechanical and analytical mind.  She met Brevoort at a studio in architecture school and the two have worked in different offices for 10 years before starting Zeroplus 13 years ago.

“The idea behind the name of Zeroplus is that people see buildings as objects and architecture is the empty space where things happen,” Chun said.  “We try to let our clients come up with their preferences and express what they want without imposing too much.”

Together, the two have worked on many local projects, in which Poppy Restaurant and Spinasse are two examples.  Knowing that the chef of the restaurants, Jason Stratton, is a born and raised Seattleite, the team put an emphasis on local furniture in their designs and created two dining places that have never failed to leave an impression on the customers.

“The project is better when a client is more engaged,” Brevoort said.

zeroplus architects: Josh Brevoort and Lisa Chunzeroplus architects: Josh Brevoort and Lisa ChunYet, Zeroplus is more than just doing business.

In order to adapt to the constant changes in the industry, Brevoort and Chun spend time studying the future of architecture through working on self-enhancement projects like doing research, teaching at universities, and entering competitions.  

“When we started working, the tools were the same tools Leanoard de Vinci used. The tools we are using now, he wouldn’t know how to use it—and that’s only in 20 years,” Brevoort said. “We don’t want to get left behind.”

When being asked about the challenges of being partners for work and life, Chun said the scenario is fairly common in their field.

“We’ve known each other for a very long time and we can balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Chun said.

Running an architecture firm is more than just designing spaces, it also involves budget management and communication with clients. Yet, when it boils down to the bottom line, the mission of Zeroplus is clear:  to translate people’s needs into actual spaces and help people experience spaces through designs.

“I think people recognized the power of space because it is very personal,” Chun said.

zeroplus architects
1000 S. Weller St., Seattle (206) 323-4009
www.0-plus.com


Behind the ScenesEditor’s note:

Having been a community journalist in the area for a few years, I have begun to appreciate every unique story in our town. From the heartwarming story of a local baker to the glorious past of an army general, these are the stories that motivate me to get up in morning and dig deeper into the picture.

“Behind the Scenes” is a biweekly column that features bite size stories you may overlook from your daily routine.  — Jocelyn Chui

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