The design is an organic and topographic intervention that flows through the Center and surrounding neighborhoods, creating new connections, opportunities for new programs, and experiences at the Center. It creates a dense, flexible fabric stitched together with multi-modal transit to bring in new audiences, local/daily users, and new amenities for regional visitors.
Some of the important features:
Right now the Center acts as an island in the city, but should be a hub linking neighborhoods rather than separating them. To that end, we’re showing a linkage through the Bay to Lake trail, a transit center with bus, Rapid Ride, sub grade parking, and a new loop of the streetcar. The northern edge, bounded by Mercer will have a new lid park to bring in foot/bike traffic from Queen Anne and a plaza at the corner of Mercer and 5th. Broad Street becomes a greenway linking to SAM Sculpture Park to Lake Union. In effect, it’s location makes it an ideal ‘transit oriented park’ to draw Seattleites to and through the Center.
The new topography defines the Center Green, an organic open space at the heart that spills out in all directions. Memorial Stadium is replaced by a field with a ‘kop’ style hill as seating, perfect for multi-use such as a musical performance space. From 5th, the landscape opens up for a vista to the International Fountain. Underneath the Center Green, we have a series of public event spaces, storefronts for fringe/alternative cultural institutions to colocate and share resources, layers of parking, and finally a grid of ground source heat pumps to lessen energy use for the Center overall.
We didn’t stop at the boundaries of the original 9 acre site, but extended the idea to carve out new access from Uptown and the meandering pathways that run through the Center Green terminate at a bridge to the apex of Key Arena–a great new public view point to downtown and the Sound.
Expressive Environmental Infrastructure:
Beyond Seattle 2030, the design begins to illustrate the path toward making the world’s first Living Building District. The goal is to create a beneficial closed loop system for using on site resources and expressing the infrastructure so visitors can see, understand, and take the lessons of sustainability home. Floating above the landscape, there is a layer of solar canopy (about 150K SF) to generate energy for the spaces on the 9 acre site. We also did a first pass on other locations for solar throughout the Center, and could easily add twice that amount on existing roofs and walls of other center buildings. The draped landscape collects storm water and purifies it through a series of rain gardens and native landscape.
The Center as a cultural incubator:
We’re also proposing a mix of new, smaller multi use spaces to support the growth of new cultural generators, like SIFF and KEXP. Tucked under the knoll overlooking the performance/field, we are proposing a new multi-use performance/community space which can be configured like the Center’s Northwest Rooms or opened up for larger events. At the corner of Mercer and 5th, we’ve opened up a new urban plaza that acts as both a local Queen Anne gateway and spill out space for the community space and cultural incubators.
Although we were not selected as a finalist for the competition, I think we put together a very forward looking, connective, and sustainable solution which would do the city proud.
Special thanks to Studio 216 for the help with the renderings!