What stopped earth’s biggest-diameter tunnel boring drill?

Transportation, West
Thursday, January 16, 2014
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The south end of the tunnel. (WSDOT; Flickr.)

The south end of the tunnel. (WSDOT; Flickr.)

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?

The answer after the jump.

Amazon’s Crazy Seattle Biodomes Get the Go-Ahead

West
Monday, November 4, 2013
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A night rendering of the Amazon biodomes (NBBJ).

A night rendering of the Amazon biodomes (NBBJ).

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Red Wagons Help Illustrate Green Infrastructure in Seattle.  Red Wagons Help Illustrate Green Infrastructure in Seattle 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)

 

W Seattle Hotel’s Parametric Pilings

Fabrikator
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Each column measures approximately 36 inches in diameter. (Boone Speed/Skylab Architecture)

One dozen columns are wrapped in a CNC milled wood solution that recalls Seattle’s cultural and maritime history. (Boone Speed/Skylab Architecture)

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. Read More

Pictorial> Amazon Domes 2.0 in Seattle by NBBJ

Pictorial, West
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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(Courtesy NBBJ)

(Courtesy NBBJ)

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.

View a gallery of renderings after the jump.

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On View> Seattle’s Frye Art Museum Presents “Buster Simpson // Surveyor”

West
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
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(Courtesy The Frye Art Museum)

(Courtesy The Frye Art Museum)

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.

Proposed Biodomes for Amazon Bring Nature In for Brainstorming

West
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
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The proposed Amazon biodomes in downtown Seattle. (NBBJ / Seattle.gov)

The proposed Amazon biodomes in downtown Seattle. (NBBJ / Seattle.gov)

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.)

Continue reading after the jump.

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Seattle, San Francisco, Hoboken Reveal New Bike Share Details

East, West
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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Alta Bike Share on display in New York (nycstreets/Flickr)

Alta Bike Share on display in New York (nycstreets/Flickr)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mithun Designs Ambitious Seattle Aquarium Expansion

Newsletter, West
Friday, May 10, 2013
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The proposed plan for the Seattle Aquarium expansion. (Courtesy Mithun / Seattle Aquarium)

The proposed plan for the Seattle Aquarium expansion. (Courtesy Mithun / Seattle Aquarium)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Seattle’s Ultra-Sustainable Bullitt Center Officially Opened on Earth Day

West
Monday, April 22, 2013
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Bullitt Center (Nic Lehoux, and Ben Benschneider - Courtesy Miller Hull)

Bullitt Center. (Nic Lehoux and Ben Benschneider / Courtesy Miller Hull)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Digital Urban Earthwork in Seattle: Doug Aitken’s MIRROR Opens At The Seattle Art Museum

West
Friday, March 29, 2013
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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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Doug Aitken to Wrap The Seattle Art Museum With LED Video Art Screen

Newsletter, West
Monday, March 11, 2013
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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.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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