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cdub

Seattle, Washington...

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Here are a few photos from a trip to Seattle this past summer. Hope you enjoy. Many more can be seen at www.sitephocus.com.

First off, here are a few general shots of the city.

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Great little flat-iron.

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Pioneer Square is Seattle's historic district, consisting quite a few blocks of low- mid rise architecture. Former warehouses have been converted into lofts, retail, restaurants, offices, etc. There's even an example or two of pretty good urban infill, that which respects it's context both in materials and scale. This district has a really interesting story from the beginning days of the city to the early 20th Century. The Underground Tour highlights much of that and I highly recommend the tour if you make it up there. Preservation efforts really kicked off with the construction of this turd (the garage, not Smith Tower):

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In the foreground is a parking garage locals have named it the 'Sinking Ship'. This replaced a beautiful Victorian flat-iron. Even trade?

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Urban infill I mentioned above. Not a bad project, but wish they would have provided a little more relief with the windows being setback a bit. Feels a bit flat (compare with the buildings above). Also not entirely crazy about the corner treatment, but it's better than most of what we're getting.

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Pike Place Market

Known for throwing fresh fish to waiting customers. Fun to watch them pull pranks on tourists and worth the stop. The rest of the market is your typical market variety turned tourist trap.

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More Seattle

City Hall

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Seattle Center

This area is home to a variety of museums, theaters, the Key Arena, and the Space Needle. Kind of a cultural island at the edge of downtown.

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Experience Music Project - also in the Seattle Center, another of Gehry's paper-wad experiments. Kind of looks like every other Gehry produced building, just with different materials. An example, IMO, of the disconnect between architecture and sculpture in that he's trying to create sculptural objects and not buildings. You really notice the failure when you can't find the damned door.

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Seattle Opera

Kreielsheimer Promenade - Interesting lighting installation at the Opera house. LEDs change color and illuminate the suspended mesh. Pay close attention for the self portrait.

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For the avant garde, Central Library. As expected it's completely terrible at the street level. It does create some interesting spaces on the interior/ upper levels, but something needs to be done in the future to think about the exterior relationships. There were some odd interior choices, such as fairly thin gauge metal stairs that weren't exceptionally quiet for a library and one entire floor with everything painted blood red. Guess I was in the belly of the beast.

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Parks and Open Space

Freeway Park is a 2 or so block long park that covers the interstate running through downtown. Creates a usable area out of an otherwise unusable space. I know this idea has been brought up with linking the Gulch to Midtown. Designed by Lawrence Halprin, I believe it was a precursor to Ira's Fountain in Portland with it's stepped fountain.

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Olympic Sculpture Park is the newest park in the downtown area, nestled hillside along the waterfront on a former brownfield site. Tried to get more evening photos, but was run off by security as the park was closing (9:00 I think).

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Richard Serra piece

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Even with eyes in the back of their heads, someone's always watching...

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Gas Works Park

Park opened in the 70's sort of began the brownfield reclamation movement for open space. Viewing mound of Lake Union and downtown and I'm guessing good swimming, if you don't trust the signage.

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South Lake Union

This area is currently undergoing massive construction and revitalization. Much of the land is occupied by underutilized warehouses and is quickly becoming a live-work neighborhood. The Master Plan for the area was spearhead by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Most of the development currently completed or underway is mostly mid to low rise and almost all with an eye towards environmentalism. A streetcar line has recently opened or will open soon in the area, but in a comical naming blunder that's stuck with locals, the original South Lake Union Trolley can't be shaken. I wander why. Also, with neighbors like these, you know this will be a great neighborhood:

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Alley 24

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Alcyone Apartments

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More developments in SLU:

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The bus system was very easy to use and extensive. Only used a car to and from the airport, but eventually there won't be a need for that as LRT is currently under construction. In the downtown area, buses convert to electric power via overhead cables. Adds visual clutter, but buses are almost silent. They then switch back to fuel once they leave downtown.

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And finally, for the high-rise-ophiles, Seattle's tallest. The Columbia Center, not much to speak of but it's height. I guess people are enamored with that.

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All in all, the most interesting areas to me with the most activity were the low to mid rise districts. The high rise sections suffered from the typical downtown office syndrome of closing shop at 5:00 and dead on the weekends. I think scale contributes to that as well. There was a ton of retail downtown of all varieties and one could seemingly get everything in the downtown area and never leave. Don't know why I get depressed when I travel?

I think that's about all. You can see more of the outlying areas here.

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Wonderful pictures cdub, thanks for the tour. I'd love to have some of those midrises in Charlotte, for the density and the architecture :)

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Thanks for the photos, they're spectacular! Seattle has some of the best of everything in the world IMO, it's one of those places you can't help but love!

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Thanks for the photos, they're spectacular! Seattle has some of the best of everything in the world IMO, it's one of those places you can't help but love!

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Less rainfall in Seattle than most places east of the Mississippi.

Yes, but aren't there more days of misty/dreary weather? :P My wife and I both love dreary days so we would be right at home, but I imagine not everyone has a love for cloud cover.

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