Sunday, September 12, 2010

Things are hoppin'

So much architecture and design, so little time.
Wednesday, Sept. 15, is action-packed. Action-packed, I tell ya.

First, there's FutureShack 2010 Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center. This is FutureShack's second year. The thing, put on by AIA Seattle, was supposed to grow into a citywide festival to celebrate urban housing and the future of it. That hasn't quite happened yet. Young event, crappy economy. But Wednesday you, John Q. Public, (what DOES the Q stand for, John?) are invited to come see what this year's panel of judges have selected as the best in forward-thinking architecture around these parts. There are five winners this year, one of them so in the future that it hasn't even been built yet. Doors open at 5 p.m. for cheap-wine drinkin' (alert!) And at 6:30 the jury will talk about the places they picked and why. Cost ya $15 at the door.
Truth report: Yours Truly wrote about this for Pacific Northwest magazine, and the paper is a sponsor. But expect scads of local architects there for brain pickin'. Go pick one.

OK, so anybody who's not at FutureShack WILL be at Benaroya Hall to hear the four way-big-bigshot finalists competing (ok, they're not competing. ohhhh, yes they are!) to remake Seattle's downtown waterfront once the Alaskan Way Viaduct is 86'd.
This deal is called Reshaping Seattle's Central Waterfront. And it's at 7 p.m. in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium
This dog-and-pony comes to us by way of the city and the Department of Planning and Development. But this will be a goodie. A classic. A once-in-a-city's-lifetime opportunity, I promise you.
One of these firms, out of 30 originally in contention, will be in charge of reconnecting the city to Elliott Bay. And you get to hear their pitches for free!(which means no cheap wine) Designers will answer questions from the public, that'd be you.
This is kind of like a beauty contest, but with land, because a lead designer will be selected in part based on the quality of this presentation and the ability to engage the public. And, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'm, the design process begins in October 2010.

Here are the players:

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. These are the locals, but with a worldwide rep. Locally, Kathryn Gustafson worked the landscape at McCaw Hall and the Seattle City Hall. GGN is no stranger to complex civic projects, the garden spaces of Chicago's Millennium Park are just one example.

Michael Van Valkenburgh is known for taking abandoned lanscapes and remaking them into kinetic area of work, culture and living. The Brooklyn- and Cambridge, Mass.-based firm stirs city and nature into one pot. Now working with with urban designer Ken Greenberg of Toronto to create a new neighborhood on that city’s Lower Don River.

Field Operations (James Corner) is responsible for the very popular and dynamic piece of nature reclaimed from elevated rail tracks that is High Line Park in Manhattan. E. Nuff. Said.

Wallace Roberts Todd. Firm headed by, you guessed it, Wallace Roberts Todd. Philadelphia firm. The firm also includes Atelier Dreiseitl, a German firm with a Portland office that is hot, hot, hot. Also, SRG Partnership is a Seattle partner. SRG worked on the Seattle Center Century 21 master plan.

This should be a truly amazing event. Not too miss. You don't even have to RSVP. Just go.

photo credit: By Yours Truly, taken on the Bainbridge ferry. Not this year due to lack of sun and puffy white clouds.

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