The streets of downtown Seattle are set for a major overhaul, thanks to a new masterplan by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. As AN reported in our recent West Coast edition, the Seattle-based firm has made recommendations to improve the pedestrian realm “centers on uniting the fragmented parts of the Pike-Pine corridor, two major thoroughfares at the heart of the retail core running east-west from Interstate 5 to the waterfront.”
Check out their dramatic proposed transformations overlayed on Seattle’s existing streetscape for a better look at how pedestrians and cyclists will fare under the plan.
Like many major tech companies in Silicon Valley, Apple provides free transportation for its employees living in the Bay Area. About 28 percent of Apple employees do not drive to work, instead taking employer-owned biodiesel shuttles, biking, or walking. In an effort to bring that percentage up to 34 percent (a figure that will help get their new Norman Foster–designed campus in Cupertino approved), the company is expanding its fleet of buses and building a dedicated transportation center.
On April 11, Los Angeles–based firm B+U will open their latest installation, called Apertures, at SCI-Arc Gallery. The structure, already assembled inside the space, is 16-feet-tall and made up of 233 1/8-inch-thick plastic panels. Its warped shape resembles a natural organ or organism (a heart? a strange alien plant?), and in many ways it acts like one.
Apex: Tip Toland
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Through May 11
Washington-based artist Tip Toland creates larger than life figures with painfully accurate details that highlight her subjects’ imperfections: wrinkles, sunspots, and other blemishes. Toland’s work has always dealt with figurative subject matter, though her approach has ranged from the surreal to the super-real. This exhibition focuses on the plight of albino children in Africa, many of whom face a never-ending nightmare of bigoted, superstitious persecution at the hand of the communities into which they are born. Deeply rooted in psychology, Toland’s carefully crafted portraits seek to disturb viewers, teasing out their deepest human sympathies only to clobber them with the cudgel of political subtext. The artist has said that her work “softens our hearts to what we are afraid of.” Unflinching in the face of terrible realities, it is certainly provocative.
Los Angeles isn’t the only city exploring freeway caps. In effort to bring more green space to the west side of the City of Roses, the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a competition, STITCH. They are calling designers to submit their ideas for capping a portion of I-405 between downtown and the city’s Goose Hollow neighborhood.
[ Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted responses in reference to Sam Lubell’s editorial “Export Issues” (AN10_11.27.2013_West), in which Lubell argued that the U.S. is experiencing an architectural “brain drain” with all of the best talent and the best projects now going to Asia. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
This is one of the most poorly reasoned pieces I’ve ever read. When opportunities arise these firms will once again design for the U.S. in a snap. But in the meantime they are prospering, keeping their U.S. workers employed, and in essence “exporting” an American product—nothing wrong with any of that.
Seattle’s monorail was unveiled in 1962 and it now carries 7,000 passengers per day on a one-mile track between the Space Needle just north of downtown and the center of the city. While plans were first proposed in 1997 to extend the monorail, they were scratched. But now another way to travel and see Seattle from the sky is being offered by Kyle Griffith, the owner and developer of the Seattle Great Wheel (that rests on Pier 57 on the waterfront): an urban gondola. Cities like Rio de Janeiro and Singapore have installed gondolas to great success, providing a more exciting way to commute and an unusual way to view the urban landscape below.
As the economy continues to roll we’re again awash in shortlists and competition wins. The Santa Monica City Services Building has a shortlist that includes SOM and Frederick Fisher. Teams shortlisted for the Herald Examiner Building include Christof Jantzen and Brenda Levin. LA’s Wildwood School shortlist includes Gensler, Koning Eizenberg, and one unknown team. The UC San Diego Biological Building has gone to CO Architects (recent winners of the AIACC Firm of the Year award). EHDD has won the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, and Harley Ellis Devereaux has won the Long Beach Belmont Plaza Pool.