Let's Chihuly-ize the monorail station

Notes on eco-architecture for the Center, and a new theme for a new century: green design.
Crosscut archive image.

An artist's rendering of King County's idea for Seattle Center, including waterworks that accommodate rain runoff.

Notes on eco-architecture for the Center, and a new theme for a new century: green design.

In trying to make the proposal for a Dale Chihuly exhibit work better at Seattle Center, here's an idea sent in by Carolyn Duncan, who works for Frause Communications and is a fan of more open space at Seattle Center. As you see from the concept drawing, it's an indirect suggestion to bury the ungainly monorail terminal in a vertical garden building. Imagine if the Chihuly/glass museum were also part of this design, and you get the picture of solving several problems at once.

The concept is from Humberto Urriola, an Australian businessman and visionary landscape architect known for imaginative ideas that save water, incorporate gardens into structures, and apply radical ecology measures to building forms.

This idea also recalls a seminal suggestion by then-King County Executive Ron Sims, who once got it into his head that Seattle Center should be opened up and also made into a modern example of advanced stormwater management and eco-architecture. The county, which oversees Metro, wanted to deal with stormwater runoff at the Center by having more ponds and natural filtration. Accordingly, the Center would have more beautiful and interesting open space while also being a classroom in sustainable design. Sims was told to butt out by Mayor Nickels, and he subsided. I wonder if he still has the bug, now that he also has lots of federal stimulus dollars at his disposal as number-two and HUD?

Thinking aloud further: Might not the business community get behind the idea of Seattle Center as an emblem of Seattle's push into green-tech businesses? That would seem to be the Next Big Thing for our economy. Just as the Seattle World's Fair was meant to excite people about careers in science, right after the Sputnik Shock, so the Fair grounds might be an inspirational park for "the Climate Century." Start with the monorail!


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