Before & After> Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Imagines a Pedestrian-Friendly Seattle

seattle-streetscape-01bseattle-streetscape-01a

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.

More after the jump.

Seattle’s Urban Gondola Could Handle the Equivalent of 150 Packed Buses a Day

West
Monday, March 31, 2014
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The proposed Union Street Aerial Gondola Project in downtown Seattle (Via Architecture)

The proposed Union Street Aerial Gondola Project in downtown Seattle (VIA Architecture)

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.

Read More

PeopleForBikes Issues Green Light For Six Cities Seeking Improved Bike Infrastructure

A list of over 100 cities has been whittled down to six. PeopleForBikes has announced the latest cities that will be the focus of the 2014 iteration of the Green Lane Project, an initiative that promotes urban bike infrastructure.

More after the jump.

New Research Iniatives Examine How Vital Pollinators Function In Urban Areas

International, Sustainability
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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bee

(Courtesy David Biesack/flickr)

As scientists search for the reasons why, large bee populations continue to die off at alarming rates. The insect’s role as a vital cog in agricultural processes makes their rapid disappearance all the more concerning. Habitat destruction must certainly be considered as one explanatory factor for the troubling trend, as urbanization and sprawl have dealt a considerable blow to the ecosystems where these insects flourish. Britain alone has lost 98 percent of its wildflower meadows in the past 70 years.

A new research initiative led by the University of Bristol is examining the way bees and their fellow pollinators function within the urban and suburban environs they are increasingly forced to inhabit. The Urban Pollinators Project, is studying pollinator populations in gardens in UK cities Bristol, Leeds, Edinborough, and Reading. The initiative is joined by a similar (and identically-named) project sponsored by the University of Washington that takes Seattle as its laboratory.

On View> The Seattle Art Museum presents “Miró: The Experience of Seeing”

Art, On View, West
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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(Courtesy Seattle Art Museum)

(Courtesy Seattle Art Museum)

Miró: The Experience of Seeing
Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue, Seattle, WA
February 13 to May 25

The Seattle Art Museum will be offering a look—almost unprecedented in its breadth for this side of the Atlantic—at the later work of Spanish artist Joan Miró’s. The work on view has been culled entirely from Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s extensive Miró collection. Miró: The Experience of Seeing will feature more than fifty paintings, drawings, and sculptures created between 1963 and 1983. The work from this period is defined in part by increasingly simplified abstract compositions and sculpture that makes use of found objects.

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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