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."
Posts tagged with "Seattle":
In case you still can't let go of the holidays (we know, it's not easy), take a look back at Seattle's 21st annual gingerbread festival, which just closed at the city's downtown Sheraton Hotel. Six local architecture firms partnered with the hotel's culinary team to produce a dizzying array of giant candy-fied creations to benefit the the Northwest chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The theme this year was nursery rhymes, officially dubbed, "There's a Rhyme and a Reason this Holiday Season". (In case you missed it, last year's theme was fairy tales.) Among the highlights: a cow jumps over a moon above a whimsical winter village built from sweets and icing in "Hey Diddle Diddle" by firm Weber Thompson; an almost four-foot tall ship of gingerbread with marshmallow-like sails filled with marzipan sailors, white mice and a duck captain depict the plot from the rhyme "I Saw a Ship A-Sailing" by 4D Architects, Inc; and Jack and the beanstalk hover over the lower Queen Anne Seattle neighborhood–Space Needle and all (by Callison).
There are those famous pairings in life—cookies and milk, wine and cheese, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Lewis and Clark. But could there really be a better pairing than architects and chefs working together to create gingerbread houses? In its 20th year running, Seattle area architecture firms and chefs at the downtown Sheraton Hotel teamed up for the holidays to build gingerbread houses benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Northwest Chapter. While last year’s theme featured iconic train stations around the world, this year’s theme took a more decidedly youthful and imaginative approach—“Once Upon a Time”—envisioning the castles and abodes of characters in popular children’s fiction in candy, icing, and gingerbread. Kids with type 1 diabetes volunteering with JDRF worked with the architecture firms, choosing the story titles for the six gingerbread houses: Alice and Wonderland, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Chronicles of Narnia, Grimm’s Fairytales, and The Little Mermaid. The whimsical, sugary interpretations sport characters crafted from marzipan, window glazing made from heated sugar, sour belts as roofing tiles, M&Ms as coining. The Brothers Grimm Castle of Fairytales even sports a working drawbridge. More houses below!
Since AN first looked at the proposed design for Amazon's three-tower complex in the Denny Triangle neighborhood in Seattle last May—and after feedback from the Seattle community and meetings with the Design Review Board over the summer—NBBJ has released new renderings. And the project now has a nickname—Rufus—a nod to the late “Amazon dog,” a Corgi who kept employees company in the office since the early days. In response to recommendations, the evolved design includes updates to elevations, details along the lower stories, weather protection, and open spaces. Facades are asymmetrical, stepped, and diverse. In a skin study, the office tower on the southeast Block 14 sports a façade of operable windows, glass, pre-finished metal panels and gold accent trim, which connects to the neighboring meeting center via a sky-bridge. Other perspectives reveal glass curtain walls on the six-story meeting center, leaving the auditorium and stairwell exposed. On Block 19, to the southwest, a covered walkway would provide protection during Seattle's rainy winter months. There are retail storefronts on the lower levels, which will augment the outdoor public parks and plazas. The combined towers are projected to accommodate approximately 12,000 Amazon employees. A final design recommendation meeting is scheduled for next week, which will further address building materials, connections between towers and blocks, full building elevations, open space, and public art. Click on a thumbnail below to launch a slideshow.
Installation of the first community rooftop garden in the United States—UpGarden—is almost complete. Located in the shadow of Seattle's Space Needle, the project will convert close to 30,000 square feet on the top of the Mercer parking garage into an organic, edible, herb and flower garden with 100 plots for lower Queen Anne neighborhood residents. Landscape architecture firm Kistler Higbee Cahoot is leading the design, organizing community workshops and construction of the garden with a volunteer crew. The project is part of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch program, which helps manage almost 80 urban community gardens across Seattle. P-Patch gets its name from the Picardo family who donated land to create the city's first community garden in 1973. UpGarden was funded by the 2008 Parks and Green Space Levy. While UpGarden is built on top of a parking garage engineered to hold up dozens of cars, special effort had to be taken to consider the weight of the new garden, which can be quite heavy. A cubic yard of dry topsoil can weigh about a ton, and much, more when wet, which could overwhelm even a concrete parking structure. UpGarden's design accounted for weight by including terraced planting beds with shallower elevated filled with a lighter-weight mix of potting soil. Small seating areas have been incorporated into the landscape design along with a planted trellis and educational kiosk at the garden's entrance. Designers paid homage to the unorthodox site's automotive past by incorporating an Airstream trailer repurposed for use as a tool shed along a lavender-lined lawn at the center of the garden. A donated 1963 Ford Galaxy was also repainted purple and hollowed out to serve as a planting space for crops such as corn and pumpkins. The first crops at UpGarden will be harvested later this summer. Unfortunately, the garden is only temporary—there are plans to demolish the aging Mercer parking garage, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, in three to five years.
While the Bullitt Center was the first built project to follow the rigorous sustainable guidelines of Seattle's "Eco-District," a second "living building" is coming to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, and will incorporate commercial space in addition to offices. Clocking in with a total of 120,000 square feet, the building will include a new headquarters for Brooks Sports. Dubbed Stone34, the building will be right off the the Burke-Gilman Trail, the 27-mile rail-to-trail walking and biking path that snakes through northern portions of Seattle. LMN Architects is helming the design of the five-story building that will recycle most of its water and includes a fresh air ventilation system, natural lighting, and thermal energy storage. Pushing sustainability even further, visitors, customers, and staff will be able to eat the lanscaping: greening by Swift Company will include edible plants. Completion is expected fall of 2013.
“I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel,” E.B. White once remarked. After the dismantling of the Seattle Center Fun Forest and Ferris wheel—closed in January 2011 to make way for the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum—Seattle will finally get its Ferris wheel back. The nearly-completed privately-funded wheel at Pier 57, with 8 supportive legs and 21 spokes, will weigh 280,330 pounds. Built by Chance Morgan Rides Manufacturing Inc. and funded by developer Hal Griffith, the 42 six-person gondolas will bring riders 175 feet into the air, with views of the Olympic Mountains to the west, Mount Rainier to the south, and the Cascade Mountains and the city to the east. Open year-round, the cars will be enclosed, heated, and air-conditioned, so no need to worry about the Seattle drizzle. The widest part of the wheel is positioned perpendicular to the Elliot Bay waterfront to maximize views while preserving site lines for neighboring buildings. At 175 feet, the Seattle Ferris wheel is a reserved interpretation: the original Ferris wheel, built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, was 264-feet-tall. Today, the world's largest Ferris wheel is the Singapore Flyer, built in 2008, which stands at 541 feet. The Seattle Ferris wheel will open by the Fourth of July.
The largest development proposed in the history of downtown Seattle—an approximately 3 million square-foot headquarters for Amazon—may take eight years to complete. Project details presented at a recent downtown design review committee meeting revealed that Amazon’s glassy three block project, designed by NBBJ (designers of the recently-c0mpleted Gates Foundation, also in Seattle), will be built in three phases of two to four years. The pieces—"Block 14" to the south, "Block 19" to the west, and "Block 20" to the north— would each include a tower up to 37 stories tall surrounded by smaller buildings connected by skybridges. Phase one at Block 14 on Leonora Street will include a 1 million square-foot tower and a 40,000 square-foot meeting space and auditorium building. Amazon's site resides in Denny Triangle west of Westlake Avenue, a small, but central neighborhood sandwiched between the downtown business and retail district to the south and South Lake Union to the north. Although the majority of the three blocks are now covered with parking lots, there is a building on each block that will be demolished: the Sixth Avenue Inn on Block 14, the King Kat Theater on Block 19, and a building occupied by Toyota of Seattle on Block 20. The most recent early design proposal focuses on plans for open space development on the site. Each will contain distinct landscaping, under the themes of "The Gallery," "The Park," and "The Garden." The first phase—the Gallery—will contain spaces for sculptures and other art; The Park will contain a larger field and an upper level dog area for the famously dog-friendly company; the last block will include a courtyard garden encircling the third tower. Check out more concept images and early design renderings below.
How can technology and science revolutionize and restore our public spaces—particularly those disconnected and decaying districts that remain after colossal events such as the Olympics, biennials, and world’s fairs? These immense programs have shaped many an urban core, for better or for worse, from the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 to the 2004 Athens Olympics. As part of the Seattle Next Fifty, the 50th anniversary of the Seattle 1962 World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition, the Howard S. Wright Design Ideas Competition for Public Space challenged global designers, architects, and urban planners to re-imagine the 9 acre Seattle Center site that was part of the larger 74-acre campus, which hosted the original 1962 fair. Suggestions range from clearing the Seattle Center site, to enclosing the space in a curved wood lattice archway, to filling the area with an open-air labyrinth. A six person design jury selected three finalists’ proposals that present economic, social, and sustainable creative reuse solutions: ABF (France) for their design In-Closure, a forested, interactive wall; KoningEizenberg Architecture + ARUP for Park, which suggests a meeting between stadium, landscape and building; and PRAUD for Seattle Jelly Bean, an atmospheric cloud-like balloon secured to the site that serves as a reflective mirror during the day and a projection screen at night. For more proposal images and more information on finalists, commendations, and other entries, visit: Urban Intervention - AIA Seattle.
Thanks to Jeremy Lin's meteoric rise, Kobe Bryant's broken nose, and Blake Griffin's dunks, basketball is once again on everybody's mind. Now Seattle, missing an NBA team since the 2008 departure of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City (renamed the Thunder), has a concrete plan to bring the NBA back. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine have announced plans for a self-funded arena sponsored by private investor Christopher Hansen, according to King County. Mr. Hansen’s proposal outlines raising $290 million for a new arena downtown, near the Seattle Mariners' baseball stadium and the Seattle Seahawks' football stadium. Mayor McGinn and Mr. Constantine have appointed a financial panel to assess the proposal, which must also fund a study to examine the possible revival of the city's former basketball venue, Key Arena. "This is great news for Seattle. On first look, we have an exciting proposal that, if successful, would mean hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment in our city—an investment that means even more during our city's fragile economic recovery," said Mayor McGinn. Below, watch Mayor McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine’s speech about the new team and arena.
Even in these recessionary times, there are still big buyers who can afford to expand when the market is low. In Seattle, Amazon is in the preliminary stages of purchasing three city blocks in the Denny Triangle neighborhood north of the business district from developer Clise Properties, The Seattle Times reports. The properties are bounded by Westlake Avenue to the east, 6th Avenue to the south, and Blanchard Street to the west. Amazon is going big: intending to convert what are now parking lots into three office towers measuring one million square feet each. The total space will double the size of the largest skyscraper in Seattle, the Columbia Center. Amazon's current office space—over a million square feet distributed over several locations—is rented. This will mark Amazon’s first office ownership. An agreement with Clise will give Amazon the option to buy more of their holdings, which are part of a larger 13-acre site in Denny Triangle.
Discussion: Eva Hagberg & Roy McMakin University Press Books Berkeley, California Thursday, September 8, 2011 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Writer Eva Hagberg's new book, Nature Framed: At Home in the Landscape (The Monacelli Press, 2011, $50), has a granola-crunchy-sounding title, but the architecture inside is as sharp as it gets. From a delicate floating house on Lake Huron by MOS to Anderson Anderson Architecture's acrylic-clad Chameleon House in Michigan, these houses are not, for the most part, about blending in. Among the 24 projects included in the book is True House in Seattle by artist/furniture designer/architect Roy McMakin, who also recently published a monograph titled Roy McMakin: When is a chair not a chair? where he details his often-whimsical furniture designs from the past 30 years. Catch both minds at Berkeley's University Press Books for a discussion on design this Thursday! As Hagberg said in her intro, "These buildings reflect an interest in the environment, in assuaging global warming and living an ecologically salient lifestyle, but they take it an architectural step further. These houses are not particularly green, or sustainable, or environmentally-minded; their approach to an idea of nature is viscerally aesthetic, practically connected. They are attached to rocks, to outcroppings, and to cliffs. They rest on meadows, prevailing over the trees around them, prioritizing their views, and their rights to the land." The following is an excerpt describing Roy McMakin's True House. Roy McMakin True House Seattle, Washington 2005 Roy McMakin’s house for a couple of Seattle art collectors is a study in tension and contradiction, view and enclosure, expectation and experience. It is a building that curves one hundred and eighty degrees, and a structure that is at once bulky, blocky, and aggressively situated on the landscape and utterly quiet, controlled, and carefully sited in the neighborhood. McMakin, an artist whose work encompasses houses and furniture, and whose aesthetic is one of searing intimacy and poignant meaning, describes the house as a curving envelope that protects and shelters you. “You walk down to it and you’re enveloped by the house,” he says of the hidden-away street entrance. “Then you step in and you get the surprise of the vastness of the piece of land that it’s on, and the view outside.” He describes it as a shift from house as shelter to house as panorama. The 180-degree shift is experientially imperceptible as the house is fragmented into different zones—living, dining, kitchen—with each one marking another curve in the plan, while massive back windows chop up and frame the view from inside towards the lake. McMakin points out how unaware visitors typically are of shifting their orientation so profoundly, partially because, he says, they’re just looking at the view. “The front and the back facades exist as a seam in the landscape,” McMakin says, explaining the difference between the simple and elegant front entrance and the purposefully and exuberantly clunky back window wall. Upstairs in the master bedroom is a microcosmic example of that seam: the wall overlooking Lake Washington features two types of window. One is gridded and open-able, trading a vista for the ability to form an actual tactile relationship with the outside, while the other is a flat plane of glass that has to remain closed, but that provides an uninterrupted view. The expression of two types of relationship to nature—one physical, one visual—is part of what makes this house such a profound expression of that complicated desire to get closer to the outside, while still controlling the relationship.