James Corner Unveils Design for Seattle Waterfront

By on June 2, 2011.

About 2 weeks late, LI is finally getting to the unveiling of the Seattle Waterfront conceptual design by NYC-based, James Corner Field Operations.

The plan includes several new parks from First Avenue or Western Ave to the waterfront in a series of landscape ramps he calls “folds.” The biggest would reach from around the Pike Place Market to the Seattle Aquarium. I can tell you from walking the area that it is not currently the most scenic or easily traversed route.

The plan also speaks to the history and character of the adjacent neighborhoods, if only in a deeply reflective and highly artistic manner. A few of the piers north of the Aquarium would include thermal pools for “soaking and taking in the views.” I would never have imagined that area as ripe for a “soaking area,” but I am definitely interested in seeing how it works out.

I believe that the main success in Corner’s plan – and the essential goal of the project – is creating a continuous walk along the harbor – something that takes advantages of the wonderful views that the waterfront has to the Olympic Mountains across the Sound.

Because of the challenging topography, Corner used his “folds” to create an easier grade for pedestrians to access the piers as well as to create opportunities for stormwater  retention and filtration systems.

The design is projected to be completed by 2016 and the construction is planned to be finished by 2019.



Thanks to the Seattle Times for information on this story.

Images courtesy of James Corner Field Operations, cristinabump.wordpress.com, Waterfront Seattle, and the Seattle Times.

Benjamin Boyd is the editor of Landscape Invocation and a graduate of the University of Florida. Ben currently practices landscape design in Washington D.C.

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