Link Light Rail Signage Options

Sound Transit is reconsidering their current signage for the light rail stations and has recently issued a survey asking people what they think. They have three pretty similar options, but I want to advocate for the best option which includes a white bar across the top with a big arrow indicating the entrance to the station. 

As a transplant to Seattle, I found the signage woefully inadequate and non existent in my first year. I didn't actually realize there was any signage of the current system until this survey... So anything that grabs your attention and lets you know where to go is of the most importance. 

There are some fundamental issues that will still be baked into the system, like the naming the train system Link when everyone largely calls it light rail. I hope that over time the Link takes on a brand identity like the T in Boston or the L in Chicago (who clearly wins the clever points). With that being said, below are the options proposed and the survey for you to take.  

Link to the actual survey (not good on mobile devices) - http://ow.ly/8Ajy30iaRUM

Good Design Moment - Anhalt Building Addition

In a city draped with Hardie Panel details, it's nice to see a building where the owners chose to go with something longer lasting and easier to look at. Public47 did a great job restoring historic apartment building in addition to building a more modern portion. The dark brick is a particular nice element. 

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Read more on Public47's website.


Location Address: 201 16th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112 (Technically 1600 E John Street)

A Brief Tour of Seattle's Facades, a Lack of Commitment

About two months ago, maybe three at this point, I was debating the architectural excellence of a building my coworker picked out while we drove to a job site in Ballard. Per the usual, I argued that I didn't find anything particularly good about the building while my coworker (who loves everything) praised the buildings supposed architectural excellence. As I mustered up the reasons the building wasn't good, I finally realized the leading cause of mediocrity plaguing much of Seattle's bad architecture- an unnecessary use of many material and color variations. Since this realization, I slowly documented mediocre buildings that demonstrate a non-committed facade. Through the documentation, it's apparent there are a variety of strategies, which I've started to decipher below. Before heading into the tour, here are some basics to look out for. The material choices come in composite woods (hardie), metal, vinyl, and the oh-so-hot real wood. The configurations of the materials come in vertical, horizontal, squares, and shingle. The colors lean towards multiple dominant colors, with a slightly dull or dated tint.

Disclaimer: some of these can be difficult to look at. Please open another tab in your browser of good architecture in case you find yourself feeling weak.

An Initial Assessment of Seattle's Non-committed Facades:

Horizontally - Perhaps this building is a new theoretical argument for top, middle, and base. The "rusticated" green base, a wide vertical middle, and a thin horizontal top. In case the materials were not making the argument clear, 3 dominant paint colors are used to emphasize the facade strategy.

Vertically - We can see a similar strategy as mentioned above, except vertically. The material and color treatment suggests at one point the three different colored parts were separate massing elements. As the photo now demonstrates, the massing has been flattened, leaving the remnants of three different colors and two different material treatments (at least the colors aren't too terrible).

1/3, 2/3 - Outside the horrendous gluing of mass for what looks to be a wall vented fireplace, this building uses the 1/3 - 2/3 color strategy with white trim separating the vertical and shingle materials. Note how the adjacent property is the same configuration but the design uses a different color palette (so clever! I never suspected they were the same floor plans...).

Color 4 - The massing of this building indicates a love for saw blades as indicated with the roof line. Each additional massing strategy glued onto this building is further emphasized with a different color/material. The designer wanted to celebrate the saw blade idea by painting this a separate color (green) with a thin piece of trim (We wouldn't want to confuse it with the blue plane).

Color 5 - As massing grows, designers feel compelled to select more colors. The building on the left contains a more conservative massing strategy (not so much gluing to maximize profits) so the largely flat facade pops with 5 colors and 4 or 5 materials. Who needs a better massing strategy with a non-committed facade? (note the green and wood building on the right is still part of the same complex- color 7?).

Color 6ish - At some point it's hard to keep track of the colors, but this developer special building has a true uncommitted style to it's color palette.

Colors + Wood - What seems like a crappy developer copy of Silodam, the hot trend is to incorporate wood into the facade for a real pop. This building uses two colors of wood and inserts more wood randomly between windows on the left side. The randomness is topped off with the irrational play of blue on the wood side. It's like the designers can't figure out whats going wrong, so they impulsively add more materials and make the organization less rational.

Historically - While the lack of commitment is a more current occurrence, this house couldn't miss the opportunity to partake through the only power an older committed house can- paint. A separation of beige and brown is articulated horizontally on a board that meets the lower eave. No trim separation needed!

I could keep going, but I'll save you the torture. There are more in my ever growing album of Seattle's Non-committed Facades. The strategies are evolving and it would be interesting to follow up with this post in the future. The newest trend appears to be the random wood panel or color panel inserted into a monolithic portion as demonstrated with the color + wood project.

The non-committed facade is a poor design strategy that has dated these buildings, in addition to our city. I could see a good designer falling victim to this trend, but it's important to stray from complexity and use committed facade strategies. I would also like to encourage better massing, but this is a more difficult task.

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On a closing note, either Gehry has fallen victim for Seattle's non-commitment or he studied up on his Seattle vernacular. I'll let you decide.

Henderson's Downtown Development - Desertion

Henderson is where I grew up. I think it's fair to say, compared to the current city boundaries, I knew the town in it's infancy. I spent a lot of time, as a kid, in the original neighborhood (housing for the original Magnesium factory workers). It wasn't the highfalutin areas of Green Valley, Anthem, and whatever the next developer wants to call their fortified complex of stucco homes. Growing up in the southwest in the 1990s-2000s exposed me to tremendous growth including Henderson becoming the second largest city in the state (Sorry Reno... well not really). It's safe to say the development leading to the size was not good. The entire valley fell, and still falls, victim to the fast and loose development that leads to sprawl. In Henderson, it's clear the city wants to improve some of the deserted areas largely focusing on downtown, but unfortunately it's not based on any urban design logic or even a skimming of The Death and Life of Great American Cities Wikipedia article. The latest version suggest is the same old idea ten fold.

The strategy calls for the leveling all the current fabric (buildings) and persuading developers to make a new great place (because new has to be better, right?). A stroll down Water street makes one wonder if the city was bombed out. Most of the buildings I knew as a kid are non existent  and largely empty lots with and chain link fences.

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Anyone who has escaped the development standard of sprawl can tell you a great downtown street will have a lot of commercial buildings. Slightly more research suggests buildings have to be continuous along the street front, a gap for a parking lot or bad proportioned building can throw everything off for pedestrians. Unfortunately the city is implementing the opposite and, well, the results show little progress on the hopes for a nice downtown.

Downtown Henderson could be a great place and I hope one day it can turn around, but using the same formula won't work.

The specifics on the city's plan can be found here.

A photo album featuring empty lots of downtown can be found here.

Lexington Modern - Honorable Mentions

So to wrap up the Lexington Modern series for now, I wanted to mention a few remaining gems of the Lexington area that deserved a honorable mention. The Parkette Drive In Parkette Drive In

The Parkette drive in is a good example of a 50s drive in diner, when signs were a fantastic piece of art built for automobile viewing. If Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown wrote Learning from Lexington, this sign would surely be indexed. The food also features some interesting items, one is the hot brown burger, a cheese burger with a slice of turkey and alfredo sauce, that I enjoyed on my visit.

Location: 1230 E New Circle Rd, Lexington, KY

The Spaceship House The Spaceship House

My friend, Jonathan, dubbed this the spaceship house. It's not something that I immediately warm to, but it's nice to see someone was thinking outside the box through some simple formal gestures. I feel this could have been the top of and small air traffic tower. I'd be interesting to see this adapted into a new structure, which could be a cool theory heavy building. The neighborhood also features some great mid century tract housing worth checking out.

Location: Mt Tabor Rd and Kasey Court, Lexington, KY

Southland Christian Church - Richmond Road Campus Southland Christian Church - Richmond Road Campus

This Lexington mega church is mega modern. The Richmond Road campus for the Southland Christian Church is in a re-purposed mall building that features some super contemporary design worth noting. The use of contemporary architecture for the church reminds me of the Catholic church reformation back in 16th and 17th century. The Catholic church would use extreme Baroque architecture to lure in more followers and separate itself from it's counter reformation foes who practiced a simple architectural style. It's odd how the counter reformation is still living on in church architecture. At any rate, the church was locked when we stopped by so I didn't get past a peering into the main hall foyer.

Location: 2349 Richmond Road, Lexington, KY

Living Arts and Science Center Addition

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Jonathan (the friend mentioned above) sent me an article in the Chevy Chase stating the Living Arts and Science Center is planning the ground breaking for a new contemporary addition. It's exciting to see a Lexington institution wanting to use modern architecture.

 

You can view more photos of these and other buildings from my recent trip to Lexington in this photo album.

Song(s) for the Day - Röyksopp "Remind Me" + "Happy Up Here"

Recently, I was listening to the classic top 50 most played songs on my phone this past weekend and ran across a Röyksopp song. Listening to song reminded me of what a great music video "Remind Me" was. The video is a bit old now, 2002, but still remains interesting in how it uses infographics to explain a woman's work day in London. The video was put together by H5, which is a pretty good french design firm from what I can tell. This video won Best Music Video in 2002 at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Another great music video that is worthy of sharing and making this a double song packed post is "Happy Up There" by the same artist, which features robot light bulb objects flying above a city mimicking space invaders.

Good Design Moment - Dakar Apartments

A gem of Seattle's Summit Avenue is the fantastic Dakar Apartment Building. Built in 1963, this mid century modern building has a great detail of diamond like forms layered on the facade. These forms break up the modern facade into an interesting mid century feel. One would assume the diamond material would be some form of concrete, typical of this style, but a closer inspection demonstrates the shapes are actually wood. darkarfacade

dakardetail

IMG_4925 One could loosely compare this facade to the theory that Alvar Aalto designed in a regional variation of modernism. As Aalto didn't follow the rigid rules of modernism for a more regional design, the Dakar Apartment Building doesn't use typical materials of mid century modern for a more regional material, wood.

Lexington Modern - Contemporary Stately Home

The most recent addition of Lexington's contemporary architecture is thoughtSPACE's "Indigenious Modern" house on the corner of Richmond Road and Richmond Avenue.  It's exciting to see something built that reflects today on a respectable street that reminds me of New Orleans in a lot of ways. IMG_4355

  The house's biggest exterior feature is a continuous cladding detail of vertical wood boards sandwiched between thin metal strips. The large formal gesture is reminiscent of the dutch modern style with large cantilevered lines articulating the massing. The front porch is a modern twist on the neighbors through its unsymmetrical appearance and random sized columns holding up the roof. The push and pull of massing creates an assorted understanding of the house, for example, the front facade looks different from the southeast than the northwest kind of blurring one's understanding of the facade.

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  The back yard features a really cool bridge that connects the master bedroom with a room above the garage.

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  The interior (from looking in the windows) features what appears to be reclaimed wood and with modern clean lines and finishes. The only item that has me questioning the textbook contemporary style is a large metal graphic of leaves/grass that serves as the guardrail for the stairs. Perhaps this was the indigenous part of the architect's term of "Indigenous Modern."

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  This house is a great addition of architecture in Lexington and deserves praise. Unfortunately, some people aren't warming to the building according to an interview in the Chevy Chase with the architect, John Steven Dehart. I would be surprised if modern architecture didn't face some level of opposition in any american community, but at some point we have to move from the architecture of the past and be true to the period of design that we live in today.

Check out more photos from my recent visit here.

Location: Richmond Road and Richmond Ave, Lexington, KY

Lexington Modern - The Miller House

Lexington's most famous piece of modern architecture is José Oubrerie's Miller House. It's impressive to see, even after 25 years, articles being published on the house. Some of these publications include an article by Dwell, a recent article by Evan Chakroff (also translated into Portuguese), and, as of last week, a whole book called In Suburbia Ego. This recent book will include the writings of many architects solely about the house. The Miller House I am relatively close to many of the people writing about the Miller House (including being José's student for a brief, but intense, quarter), but the thought that maybe my appreciation for the house is only a regional phenomenon is mute once we consider this house is an American Masterwork of the 20th and 21st century, according to Kenneth Frampton. He's clearly not from around Kentucky and seems to have a respectable take on these matters.

As stated above, architects in Kentucky and Ohio know a lot about this building, but I think it's fair to say people of Lexington know little outside the local arts scene. So here's a brief summary to get everyone on the same page. The building was a dream residence for a lawyer in Lexington by the name of Robert Miller. In 1988, Miller selected José Oubrerie to design it, who was the Dean of the University of Kentucky's College of Architecture. Outside academia, José Oubrerie was already an established world class architect who worked with Le Corbusier early in his career and had high profile works around the world. Two buildings that come to mind are Le Corbusier's church of Saint-Pierre in Firminy, which he completed at the request of Firminy's government, and his very own French Cultural Center in Damascus.

The Miller House has so much going on architecturally and theoretically. I've seen and read hours of it, but I'll save you from this, outside saying the red grid on the Wile Wolf Building that I compared to the Casa del Fascio should be in play again.

Image Showing the Original Site

The designed intent of the Miller House included its landscape, sitting on top of a hill, the natural features surrounding were intentional and complimented the structure. The highlight of the original site included a pond and a modest take on an English garden landscape with trees dotting the banks.  The site also included a tree lined pathway around the property line. This provided a great running track for the owner, in addition to blocking out the tract developments surrounding the site.

Image Showing the Pond from the 3rd Floor Balcony

I'm not completely sure about the whole history of the house, but apparently Robert Miller moved out. The house was vandalized and soon after a non-profit bought and improved the building for a brief time. During this time the Architecture School used it, local concerts took place there, and the house was even featured in a music video by, Neon Indian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv8IsdbYR9g

After 2006, the non-profit sold the house leaving the future in limbo. Today Ball Homes owns the land surrounding the site and the owner of Ball Homes purchased the house this summer after the house sat on the market for some time. While I can't confirm this, word on the street is Mr. Ball bought the home for around 200-300 thousand, which seems laughable even in the housing market of central Kentucky.

The biggest shame of the house is the slow destruction taking place.  The Miller House's current state reminds me of a suffering hospital patient on life support. The current property has been voided of the pond and subdivided into 48 lots for tract homes.

Subdivided Lots of the former Miller House Property

When visiting the site recently, I took a copy of the lot map from the model home. It's clear there is no intention to keep any of the landscaping outside of the house and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see this house mysteriously drop of the map some night. There is an effort by Katie Halsey to get the building listed on a historical register, but the chances of that seem bleak, plus the aforementioned lots surrounding the house have been sold. The historical protection would limit development of the site, but what can one do once the surrounding houses are built?

To look at the future of this home, I can't help but think past comparing it to the fate of Villa Vaucresson (aka Besnus). The building may stay, but recognition of the original design won't exist through the slow distortion by people who don't know any better. It's just too late.

IMG_4335 More images from my recent visit of the Miller house can be found here.

Location: 832 Lochmere Pl, Lexington, KY 40509

 

Modern Lexington - Wolf Wile Building

As promised there are some really great architectural moments happening around Lexington. I was lucky to have my friend, Jonathan, drive me around and show me some buildings he's taken notice of, as well unexpected stops following my own verbal "ooo, what's that?" These moment's will be part of a mini series called Lexington Modern, which will focus on modern architectural places of the city. I will start with a building that is both, old and new.

Wolf Wile Building Front In 1948, Lexington's Wolf Wile Department Store moved from a location near Union Station, at the time, to a brand new building on the corner of Quality and Main Streets. The building would be architecturally up-to-date and represent the newest in retail trends. The Architects behind the structure were Lexington's Frankel and Curtis (check out some of their other buildings!) and what appears to be a retail consultant, Amos Parrish and Co. The architectural design is a rare type in the region, but all the rage in the late 40s. The owners kept the building in good shape until 1992 when the store closed due to the competition of the ever-so-familiar suburban stores. Luckily, in 1996 the James N. Gray Construction company bought the former store and made it their corporate headquarters. Not too long following the purchase, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wolf Wile Entry The building is a great example of mid century modern. I find it very fortunate that both the original and current owners made an effort to preserve the building. Preservation of buildings this old, certainly ones of a modern style are hard to come by. The current owners, Gray, a design-build construction firm, not only took the time to preserve the existing building, Franklin Gray (an Architect) designed a new interior and a contemporary addition to the rear of the building (now used as the entry). This addition is excellent from the exterior and something that I appreciate in the context of Lexington's downtown. It shows how contemporary architecture can fit well within an old urban context.

Wolf Wile Building Rear The modern addition has familiar theoretical elements after my own quick analysis. The dominant element being the yellow platform that extends past the red steel grid. The platform reminds me of Le Corbusier's ship like element above the front door of Villa Vaucresson (aka Besnus), with the end angled piece similar to the protuding cooridors of La Tourette. The red steel grid could be compared to the facade of Terragni's Casa del Fascio making the argument of capitalism versus fascism. Capitalism, the platform, (with an american flag!) is superior and stable compared to fascism, the red steel grid, looking unorganized, slipping around the rear massing. This could then be compared to the former store itself, a capitalistic enterprise (oddly with Italian details inside) being protected by government regulations but, I digress...

This building is good and one that is luckily protected both by the owner and the government.

Check out Lexington Modern Photo Album for more recent photos and former images of the space used to list the building on the National Register of Historical Places.

Thanks to Peter Brackney for writing a informative piece about this building in 2011 that I used to find out so much about this building.

Location: Quality and Main Streets, Lexington, KY 40507

Lexington Modern - Wolf Wile Building

As promised there are some really great architectural moments happening around Lexington. I was lucky to have my friend, Jonathan, drive me around and show me some buildings he's taken notice of, as well unexpected stops following my own verbal "ooo, what's that?" These moment's will be part of a mini series called Lexington Modern, which will focus on modern architectural places of the city. I will start with a building that is both, old and new.

Wolf Wile Building Front In 1948, Lexington's Wolf Wile Department Store moved from a location near Union Station, at the time, to a brand new building on the corner of Quality and Main Streets. The building would be architecturally up-to-date and represent the newest in retail trends. The Architects behind the structure were Lexington's Frankel and Curtis (check out some of their other buildings!) and what appears to be a retail consultant, Amos Parrish and Co. The architectural design is a rare type in the region, but all the rage in the late 40s. The owners kept the building in good shape until 1992 when the store closed due to the competition of the ever-so-familiar suburban stores. Luckily, in 1996 the James N. Gray Construction company bought the former store and made it their corporate headquarters. Not too long following the purchase, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wolf Wile Entry The building is a great example of mid century modern. I find it very fortunate that both the original and current owners made an effort to preserve the building. Preservation of buildings this old, certainly ones of a modern style are hard to come by. The current owners, Gray, a design-build construction firm, not only took the time to preserve the existing building, Franklin Gray (an Architect) designed a new interior and a contemporary addition to the rear of the building (now used as the entry). This addition is excellent from the exterior and something that I appreciate in the context of Lexington's downtown. It shows how contemporary architecture can fit well within an old urban context.

Wolf Wile Building Rear The modern addition has familiar theoretical elements after my own quick analysis. The dominant element being the yellow platform that extends past the red steel grid. The platform reminds me of Le Corbusier's ship like element above the front door of Villa Vaucresson (aka Besnus), with the end angled piece similar to the protuding cooridors of La Tourette. The red steel grid could be compared to the facade of Terragni's Casa del Fascio making the argument of capitalism versus fascism. Capitalism, the platform, (with an american flag!) is superior and stable compared to fascism, the red steel grid, looking unorganized, slipping around the rear massing. This could then be compared to the former store itself, a capitalistic enterprise (oddly with Italian details inside) being protected by government regulations but, I digress...

This building is good and one that is luckily protected both by the owner and the government.

Check out Lexington Modern Photo Album for more recent photos and former images of the space used to list the building on the National Register of Historical Places.

Thanks to Peter Brackney for writing a informative piece about this building in 2011 that I used to find out so much about this building.

Location: Quality and Main Streets, Lexington, KY 40507

Pittsburgh is Great

Now I have been a Pittsburgh Steeler's fan since 1995 when the Cowboy's cheated their way into a Super Bowl victory. It was an odd alliance given I had never been to Pittsburgh and couldn't find it on a map easily in 1995, but one I've kept through the good and bad years of the Steelers' career (it's looking like it may be one of the bad years- Titans! really?) Outside of Football, Pittsburgh the city is great. I was lucky to be there for new years eve two years back and most recently for a wedding and I have to say Pittsburgh is a great city. My first memory of being in Pittsburgh was riding a greyhound bus to see friends in Allentown, Pennsylvania (I still owe Brent and Suzanne for the hospitality on that stay). I remember well entering the city which is best described as a blah blah blah of a long tunnel followed by a BAM! city all over the place. I managed to pull off a poor video of this moment. The video isn't as good as the real thing.

I would like to share a whole album of great buildings of the city, but unfortunately for the photo album, I was there to see great friends get married. I did manage to get a few shots of the University of Pittsburgh, which is one of the better campuses I've been to. The university is integrated well into the city and has densities that any college campus could use. I was intrigued by the Cathedral for Learning, the tallest building around, and managed to get a quick look. This building was fantastic! The Gothic style common space and classrooms resembling 29 difference countries was fascinating. We only managed to get into a handful of the rooms but this building was well designed and such an interesting concept. It was an entire university in one building, a vertical model instead of a horizontal. I highly recommend taking a look at this and all the many great building around Pittsburgh. I hope to get there soon and have a legit exploration of the city.

Take a look at the photos I managed to get (mostly photos of the Cathedral of Learning).

View Down Forbes Avenue
View Down Forbes Avenue

Bellevue and its Architecture

Seattle likes to make fun of Bellevue, but this shouldn't reflect on interesting architecture in the city. While looking at the Bellevue Arts Museum with Evan Chakroff, we took a moment to see what else the city had to offer. There were some interesting projects such as the Bellevue City Hall or the New Elements Tower, which featured a decent looking tower (diagrammatically interesting too). Take a look for yourself in the photo gallery. IMG_2452 (2) v

Bellevue Arts Museum - Steven Holl

I found myself at the The Bellevue Arts Museum this weekend to discover another Steven Holl work just a short drive from Seattle. This museum has some of the common found elements including a play with natural light throughout the space and a sculptural quality of the door levers and handrails. This is a successful building that fits the program (3 dimensional pieces) nicely and has some great design moments. I particularly enjoyed the rooftop courtyard and adjacent stairway wall of light. The red concrete was surprisingly pleasant with what a appeared to be the short side of a 2x4 creating the overall texture (I can see the contractor rolling his eyes and suggesting plywood molds to save costs).

Outside the architecture, there was a cool exhibit by Rick Araluce called The Minutes, the Hours, the Days

Take a look at the photos.

Bellevue Arts Museum

Vancouver and its Architecture

Two weekends ago I visited Vancouver, British Columbia with Evan Chakroff to see what's going on. Our goal was to see what we could with a rough outline of buildings on a spreadsheet and a handy book entitled Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide by Harold Kalman & Robin Ward. Overall the city seemed more European than American and included a better tolerance to architecture of all decades. The city is littered with high points in many architectural styles and citizens try protect some of the best as the case of the Dal Grauer Substation (1954). As I reviewed photos for this post, I felt intrigued by many of the city's parking garages. The next time I head up there I'll have to document these better.

The city planning is something Vancouverites take great pride in coining the term "Vancouverism" and you can see the benefits of fighting the bad strategies most North American cities were implementing in the postwar area of freeways and superblock buildings. Vancouver's lack of freeway access to the city center (or centre) stands out as the largest element of Vancouverism. One has to drive through neighborhoods to get to the city center and the whole fabric of the city is full of street life.

Both The University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University had some of the best stuff around. The city also features some great Arthur Erickson.

Take a look at the photos. I have to convey that I am disappointing in the composition. Since I lost my camera in Tuscany 3 years ago I haven't been the best about taking photos and this album demonstrates this. I need to work on my photography skills and overall documentation of buildings.

Enjoy.

Vancouver Skyline

Check out the Vancouver Architecture Photos

Also check out the Simon Fraser University Photos

Good Design Moment - King County Administrative Building

On my first day of work in Seattle, I took note of the King County Administrative Building on my way to Pioneer Square. I snapped a shot of the building and dug it up today for this post. A quick Google search led me to a Wikipedia article describing the building as "ugly" and the architect Roland G Pray. I am not surprised by the lack of attraction to this building- it's likely the same people who think slapping a stucco pilaster on a tract home as a beautiful design. If we take a moment to actually look at the building it's very interesting. It was built in 1971 and represents this point in time well. It's tectonic exterior facade is fantastic with a simple layering of structural elements (that seem to have held up pretty well). I was surprised that the natural light was decent inside given the relatively small window openings. My only general critique is the entry and how the building does not address the street, which was likely impossible for the architect to with with past zoning regulations anyhow (I'm sure the "ugly" naysayers described above will blame the architect anyway).  Comparing this building with the Seattle Public Library seems easy with it's playful and geometric exterior and other obvious themes. Perhaps I should write about this in a future post.   King County Administration Building   King County Administration Building

  Stay tuned for more relating Good Design Moments relating to this project.

Bad Design Moment - New Drop Ceiling of Washington Metro Stations

A few months ago, a replacement drop ceiling was going in at Metro Center. I was surprised to see the new framework installed 2 inches lower than the previous ceiling and hoped this was a unique situation. Instead the lowered ceiling has become the new normal and makes for funny situations with existing elements. The ceiling now pops out from vents, escalators, and the curved bottom corners of the platforms above. The elegant curved concrete runs right into the new vertical frame! At Farragut North, I inspected the half completed ceiling for obstacles and could not find any obvious reason for a lower ceiling. I predict saving money was the root reason for this change, but it comes at the cost of aesthetics. It's unfortunate the Metro stations keep drifting away from Harry Weese's original design. New Dropped Ceiling - Installed at Gallery Place

New Dropped Ceiling - Framing at Farragut North