It was early December in Seattle when the world's biggest-diameter tunnel boring machine, called Bertha, came to a stop underneath Seattle. It was plowing through the city's underground as part of the two-mile project to bring SR 99 underground and replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Overnight, it seemed as if the whole of Seattle and beyond was curious: was it buried treasure from the gold rush days? Or bootlegger artifacts? Last week officials determined the frustrating cause of the blockage: an 8-inch wide, 119-foot long steel pipe originally placed by a state groundwater research team back in 2002. The Washington State Department of Transportation is currently drilling shafts to grind and remove the pipe.
Posts tagged with "Seattle":
Seattle's design review board has unanimously approved the three biodome scheme for the NBBJ-designed Amazon headquarters. The five-story building will include flexible brainstorming and work areas filled with plants and trees, while the ground level will include retail space and public viewing spots. Planned for the block is also an Amazon office tower of up to 38 stories, as well as a neighboring public park that will include a dog run area. The steel motifs that span the glass biodomes were modified since the August revisions to appear more buoyant and open. Retail space was expanded to 18,000 square feet and the update also added a cycle path.It will take the city approximately four to six weeks to issue a building permit.When complete, the Amazon headquarters will encompass three blocks in the Denny Triangle area. Construction of the the first out of three phases is underway.
In an effort to manage excess rainwater and sewage spills at Seattle's Barton Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), officials have pulled out a small army of little red wagons to help illustrate green infrastructure improvements for residents. According to Sightline Daily, officials presented residents with rain garden maps and rolled out life-size tarps along the road to show the dimensions of planned bioswales and how they would interact with residents' front yards and sidewalks. These swales can soak up large quantities of stormwater, helping prevent discharges of polluted water from the combined rainwater and sewage system. (Photo: Vineyard Adventures / Flickr)
LIT Workshop fabricated sleek lodge poles to complement the city’s heritage.When Starwood Properties began to reimagine a new living room concept for the W Seattle, the existing first floor space featured a disconnected bar, restaurant, and lounge area, much like the traditional layout of a formal home. Portland, Oregon–based architecture firm Skylab Architecture was charged with knocking down the visual barriers for an open floor plan that resembled a more modern, casual living space. Several preexisting columns could not be removed for structural reasons, so a truly open plan had to be amended. “In some ways you could see them as a negative, or they could be seen as a positive,” Skylab principal Brent Grubb told AN. “We try to turn those perceived negatives into a design element and make it unique.” Researching the city’s cultural and maritime history inspired the architecture team to combine the water-worn patina of shore-front pilings with the physical mass of wooden totem poles. The solution was a parametrically streamlined form that was fabricated in modular sections for swift installation. The team designed seven different variations on a crescent shape that rotates and stacks to create unique profiles: round, recessed, and beaked. Depending on the stacking pattern, the lodge poles provide downlighting or uplighting, or exist as a solid mass. Because the sections had to accommodate wiring, Skylab worked with their local fabricator, LIT Workshop, to find a solution for an open interior to the column casing that relayed the weight and size of solid wood poles. Similar to a boat’s construction, furniture-grade plywood was CNC milled from an interior radius to form ribs. The ribs were then wrapped with a kerfed core substrate, over which a walnut veneer was applied. Due to the irregular curves of each piece geometrically even cutouts would not suffice. LIT modeled at least two article parts in SolidWorks as a visual reference that was refined according to feedback from both the architects and the fabricator. Each section was clear coated and embellished with a nine-coat paint process to mimic the ombre appearance of waterlogged pier pilings. According to Jon Hoppman, Director of Manufacturing for LIT Workshop, CNC routers were instrumental in fabricating the framework of the lodge pole sections. “Due to the size and scale of the elements, as well as the process of installation, the sections were required to be produced and repeated under tight tolerances,” he explained. An extensive period of research, design, and prototyping—that included the development of a proprietary fastening system—resulted in an installation period of approximately one week. The resulting columns blend into the W Seattle’s surroundings like bespoke furniture components, at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional crafting techniques. “At once, they’re heavy and permanent, but also light and eroding,” said Skylab’s Grubb. “Technology tells us you can really do something customized with an economy.”
As AN reported in our latest West Coast issue, designs for the Amazon headquarters in downtown Seattle have gone through another revision since this past May. Though still channeling greenhouses and conservatories, renderings reveal an update to the three interconnected domes on Block 19 that architecture firm NBBJ has dubbed "conjoined Catalan spheres." With a skin of white painted steel, the new design has moved beyond more traditional cross-hatching, and now nods to the pentagons of a soccer ball. But these forms are expanded and pushed to create an irregular pattern that exerts a more organic geometry. Read more about the project in AN's article or check out an expanded gallery of renderings below.
Buster Simpson // Surveyor The Frye Art Museum 704 Terry Avenue, Seattle Through October 13 Buster Simpson is a Seattle-based artist who has dedicated his artistic career to developing community-focused and urban environmentalist public art projects. For more than forty years he has created site-specific, agitation and propaganda works that have not only troubled neighborhoods to think about the health of their communities but also suggested local solutions to global issues. This exhibition at the Frye Art Museum features some of Simpson’s most compelling works, filled with explicit messages and rich metaphors, such as his “Hudson River Purge” (1991), a video performance in which he addresses the problem of acid rain by dropping 42 ½-pound soft limestone discs, or “antacid pills,” into the Hudson River, neutralizing the acidity of the water. This collection of Simpson’s public artwork celebrates his artistic legacy and captures the regional and global impact of his work.
Amazon renderings released this week in a Seattle design review board meeting would have made the late Buckminster Fuller proud. They reveal new plans for an additional structure on the proposed three-block, three-tower Amazon complex in downtown Seattle: three five-story conjoined biodomes up to 95 feet tall, with the largest 130 feet in diameter. These glass and steel domes, envisioned by local firm NBBJ, would provide 65,000 square feet of interior flex work and brainstorm areas for Amazon employees, while leaving abundant space to accommodate trees and diverse plantings. Inspiration came from nature found indoors—in greenhouses, conservatories, and convention centers around the world. From Renzo Piano’s “Bolla” in Genoa, to the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken in Brussels. (Fun fact: the largest dome in the United States—an indoor sports arena—is in fact in Washington State, in Tacoma, a city south of Seattle.) Far from ordinary, the design, still in design review, have stirred a spectrum of reactions from Seattleites—excitement, as well as criticism. With the exception of lower-level retail space, the biodomes would be open to Amazon workers only. It's an unusual move for a company that has kept a low profile in Seattle. See more here.
With summer just around the corner, bicyclists are getting excited to try out the new bike-share systems being installed in many cities across the nation. After initial delays, New York City's bike-share program is set to open by the end of the month, and San Francisco, Seattle, and Hoboken have similar plans of their own on the horizon. San Francisco: SPUR reports that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District signed a contract with Alta Bike Share to spin the wheels on a bike-sharing program for San Francisco. Alta Bike Share runs similar bike programs in Washington, D.C. and Boston and will be the operator of new programs in New York and Chicago this year. San Francisco plans a two-year pilot program consisting of 700 bikes in 70 locations that will launch this summer throughout the San Jose to San Francisco region. Last year the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition set a goal of 20 percent of trips in the city on bike by 2020 and now, after several delays, the plan will be the first regional program in the country. Seattle: Considering Seattle’s distinctive challenges of hills and mandatory helmets, Alta Bicycle Share has devised a plan for the city’s bike-share program that includes seven-speed bikes rather than the standard three-speed ones, reported BikePortland. The Portland-based Alta, adding to their bike share empire across the country, will also employ an integrated helmet vending system to accommodate the city’s mandatory helmet law. The city’s bike-share program will consist of 500 bikes distributed throughout 50 stations. The program will launch by the start of 2014 and continue to develop throughout the Puget Sound region. Hoboken: The City of Hoboken, in partner with E3Think, Bike And Roll, and Social Bicycles, across the Hudson from Manhattan, is also getting into the bike share game with a system radically different from most other cities: the “hybrid” bike-share plan. The six-month pilot program employs traditional bike rentals, but users reserve bikes online and, unlike the majority of existing bike-share systems that depend on “Smart-Dock” bike racks for storage, Hoboken's program utilizes a “Smart-Lock” method. The city hopes this approach will be more affordable and permit further development of the system. Bicycle repair stations, more bike lanes, and additional bike racks have bolstered the city’s campaign to become more bike-friendly.
In its over 30 years resting on Pier 59, the Seattle Aquarium has undergone a series of complex renovations, including the restoration of the original 1905 pier (while staying open), and the addition of a 120,000-gallon marine life viewing tank that helps visitors feel like they are immersed in an octopus' garden in the shade. Most recently, a major addition is on the boards, approved by a Seattle council committee. Plans would double the aquarium's space, bringing in a total of 70,000 new square feet. Concept designs by Seattle-based Mithun, working with the aquarium, propose a 35,000 square-foot south wing that would make room for several new exhibits as well as a 30,000 square-foot addition on the western portion of Pier 59. The remaining 5,000 square feet could house a research facility, classrooms, and a theater. The aquarium rehab would coincide with the central waterfront redevelopment, anticipated to include an expansion of Pike Place Market, which would directly link the market to the waterfront and the aquarium for the first time. James Corner Field Operations is currently working on a larger waterfront redevelopment plan. Construction of the first phase is anticipated to start in 2018, and the second phase in the 2020s.
The newly opened Bullitt Center in Seattle has stridden beyond the checklists of the LEED rating system to bring "real green” architecture into the public’s eye. As the self-proclaimed “greenest commercial building in the world,” the Bullitt Center seeks to meet the exacting goals of the Living Building Challenge, a more rigorous certification alternative to LEED. Located in Seattle’s Capital Hill district, which is in the process of a metamorphosis into the city's "Eco-District," the six-story building aims to serve as a new standard for what can be accomplished when architects and developers put ecological design at the forefront of their priorities. Designed by Seattle-based Miller Hull Partnership, the carbon-neutral building incorporates a bunch of green features to address nearly all of its energy and waste needs, while promoting sustainable behaviors through its design and program. The $30 million building is toped with a solar array and rainwater catchment system that provide for all of its electrical and water needs. All wastewater is stored and treated onsite and gray water will be used to irrigate the building’s planted areas. The site encourages pedestrian, bike, and public transit based lifestyles, while the internal layout promotes a healthy routine by way of a large, welcoming, well-lit stairway. To achieve net-zero status, the architects raised ceilings and installed large operable windows so that artificial lighting is barely necessary and all employees can be assured ample daylight and fresh air in the workplace. Geothermal heat pumps reduce the energy demand of the heating and air-conditioning system. Finally, all “Red List” building materials—materials that the government has determined to be harmful to animals, including humans—have been banned from the site. The Bullitt Center is set to officially open its doors for Earth Day. With its expected lifespan of 250 years—compared to 40 years for typical commercial buildings—the building just may stand as a premiere model of sustainability for generations to come.
This past Sunday evening, Seattle officials closed First Avenue. It wasn't for road repairs, but to celebrate the unveiling of the Seattle Art Museum's facade refresh by multimedia artist Doug Aitken. Two giant LCD screens projecting kaleidoscopic images of the Seattle region now wrap the north and west facade of the museum, with emanating vertical bands of lights. For the MIRROR installation, Aitken built up a database of hundreds of hours of digital footage in and around Seattle, from sunsets, to Puget Sound, to the urban grid to old growth forests. Captured over five years, the scenes feed into the glass video displays and synchronized light bands, which are triggered by computer driven sensors pulling in local weather, traffic, and pedestrian data. Due to the spontaneous nature of the information used, there is no looping. Despite Aitken's global oeuvre, MIRROR is his first permanent installation at a museum, and was commissioned by the late philanthropist Bagley Wright, one of the developers of the Space Needle. The unveiling was choreographed to music by minimalist composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley, performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
Seattle is about to get a new public art installation on the walls of SAM, the Seattle Art Museum. The museum that created the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park—one of the best public art spaces in the country—has commissioned artist Doug Aitken to install a new reflective wall on the corner of their building at First Avenue and Union Street. Aitken calls the wall installation Mirror and it is meant to "reflect the energy and movement of the city." The piece consists of a large LED display wrapping the building's corner facade and up the building's primary wall with scenes slowly filmed by Aitken of "images, surfaces, locations and landscapes." These digital views will then be reduced to minimal compositions and alternate with empty landscapes and dense urban scenes of the Seattle region. Further Aitken has programmed the piece to be "conditioned and programmed by local "weather information, pedestrian traffic flow, atmospheric conditions and traffic density. The digital facade Aitken imagines will be "like choreography with no music" and allows the images to "define the composition and patterns in real time and into the future."