Throughout Northlake, the most common textures are reflective of the blue-collar function of the site--practical materials like corrugated metal, treated wood decking, and concrete, cracked under the weight of heavy machinery. Gasworks, the edges of the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the handful of waterfront public access points offer a counterpoint, "natural" landscape textures, such as blackberry brambles, grasses, willow trees and rock bulkheads.
While the vast majority of the visual landscape is comprised of grey tones (including the sky and water, most of the time), the few splashes of color tend to be reminiscent of, if not genuinely, industrial and nautical themes--bright pink buoys, standing seam roofs in standard-issue blue, teal, or red, and rust-colored shipping containers.
Outside of Gasworks and a few select moments along the water, the visual experience of Northlake is quite 'noisy'. Because the major paths of movement follow the curving lakefront, the site lacks the structured, perspectival order of gridded streets typical of North American cities. But neither does it feel picturesque like other paths that abut Seattle waterways. The most dramatic and appealing views are exclusively to the south, either at the water's edge or at certain topographic instances. By facing south, these vistas are visually structured around the only horizon line visible from Northlake--the lake itself. Often, strong diagonal features, like bridges, railings, and buildings oriented to the water, frame these views.