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What Happened at the Waterfront: The Final Four Presentations

September 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Belltown, Featured, Waterfront, West Edge

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Seattle civic involvement was alive and well on Wednesday evening, September 15th when an audience of  1,200+ filled the main floor of Benaroya Hall’s S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium and overflowed into the Founders tier level. All were gathered to listen to the presentations of the final four candidates in the running for Lead Designer of Seattle’s Central Waterfront . Their goal was to present, in 20 minutes, their vision of transforming what will be 20 acres of public lands into “a waterfront for the ages—a place for all to come together and enjoy the waterfront now and beyond” as expressed by moderator Daniel Friedman, Dean of the University of Washington’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

We have supplied weblinks for each company, and here’s what they had to say, in speaking order:

Wallace Roberts & Todd – Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, Principal, led the presentation.  WRT created a new waterfront, revitalizing seven miles of the Delaware River, in its hometown of Philadelphia .  Their goal is to bring water into the city, bring the city to the water, and create a heart of the city reflecting the vibrancy of Seattle.  They bring a concept of “What has been, What is, What if, and What will be” to the project and visualize the Waterfront as “an open book written over time”.

james corner field operations – James Corner led the presentation.  Most renowned for designing High Line, an urban park set on top of an old railroad structure in New York. A number of Seattle consultants are involved. They refer to the Waterfront as Seattle’s front porch, and their well-done visual presentation outlined their goals for Green Urbanism, Early Wins (start changing the Waterfront NOW), and Public Engagement.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates –Michael Van Valkenburgh led the presentation.  Designed Brooklyn Bridge Park, which will cover 85 acres and 1.3 miles of waterfront. On their team is architect and former Seattle councilman Peter Steinbrueck.  Their goal is to integrate concepts of “Civic, Boundless, Natural and Urban”. They presented their historical research on the Waterfront and were the only ones to really hone in on fiscal feasibility… they ensure the plan we’ll have is a plan we can maintain.

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol –Shannon Nichol led the presentation. Designed Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, but they were the only ones with a global project map, and the only ones who ran through an extensive array of past projects. Their concept is: “The City on the water, with a Bay as its central point and an entire Downtown as its Waterfront”. They were the only ones to mention the earthquake factor.  As the sole finalist headquartered in Seattle, they received a very warm reception.

A decision is expected shortly and we’ll bring it to you when it’s made. If you’d like to follow the news and the current chatter on the project, link onto

http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/Central_Waterfront/Overview/

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=467138365241
or  “#seattlewaterfront” on Twitter hashtag. 

To watch the presentations for yourself, below is a Powerpoint link to them, plus a link to raw video footage from the Seattle Channel.

PowerPoint Presentations: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/waterfront_design.htm

Video Footage: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=5011031

Your Chance to Weigh in on the Central Waterfront

September 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Belltown, West Edge

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From a field of 30 applications, the City of Seattle has narrowed the list of lead designers for the Central Waterfront to four firms.  All of them have strong experience nationally and globally, a deep pool of designer expertise, and multiple design awards. We’ve provided links to their websites so you can check them out. They are:

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol – Based in Seattle with an office in London, GGN was founded by partners Kathryn Gustafson, Jennifer Guthrie, and Shannon Nichol. 

james corner field operations – Based in New York and founded by James Corner.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates – Based in Brooklyn, NY with an office in Cambridge, MA and founded by Michael Van Valkenburgh.

Wallace Roberts & Todd – Based in Philadelphia, with seven offices nationwide. Founded by David A. Wallace, William Roberts and Thomas Todd (fka Wallace McHarg Roberts & Todd).

The winning team will lead the designing of over nine acres of new Central Waterfront public space and a new surface street on Alaskan Way. Design work begins in October and will run until 2015, with construction scheduled from 2016 to 2018.

Want to see what these firms have in mind, ask questions, and weigh in on your top pick?  Public presentations are scheduled for Wednesday, September 15 at Benaroya Hall’s S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium (200 University Street, Seattle) from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. All four firms will present their credentials, explain their approach to this project, and answer questions from the public. The City will select the lead designer shortly after this event, in part based on the quality of these presentations and their ability to engage the crowd.

Can’t make it to Presentation Night?  The Stroupe Group website will keep you informed on the winner!

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