Two public art projects recognized as part of the 2016 Design Excellence Awards

The Seattle Design Commission recognized two projects that were enriched with integrated public art in their 2016 Design Excellence Awards, Fire Station 20 and Mapes Creek Restoration. You can view all the recipients here.

The Seattle Design Commission presents the Design Excellence Awards every two years, selecting the winning projects from the many public buildings, parks, open spaces and vision plans completed in Seattle. They choose projects that promote the mission and exemplify the values of the Design Commission: inspired design, contextual integration, innovative sustainability, social inclusion, exemplary partnerships, effective investment and impeccable execution.

The recognized artworks are Rob Ley’s Wind and Water at Fire Station 20 and the two Mapes Creek Restoration artworks: Yegizaw Michael’s Motion and John Grade’s Gyre.

Wind & Water by Rob Ley
Fire Station 20, 2014
Photographed by Lara Swimmer

Wind and Water at Fire Station 20 comprises more than 100 one-inch stainless steel tubes and stands over 14 feet tall, suggesting the flow of water or the movement of the wind. The sculpture engages passing pedestrians and frames the entrance to the building. The fire station also includes state-of-the-art sustainability upgrades and increased space for more fire engines.

The Office of Arts & Culture commissioned Wind and Water with Department of Finance and Administrative Services Fire Facilities and Emergency Management Levy 1% for Art funds. Photos courtesy City of Seattle.

Yegizaw Michael, Motion

Integrated into the Mapes Creek Restoration is Motion by Yegizaw Michael, which consists of over 450 disks of colored concrete and stainless steel that are inlaid throughout the 52nd Ave. S. walkway. The disks appear to flow between a set of concrete pipes that are inset in the north and south ends of sidewalk, calling attention to Seattle Public Utilities’ combined sewer line along the Mapes Creek Walkway that flows to the King County pump station.

John Grade, Gyre

John Grades’ work Gyre, also at Mapes Creek Restoration, is a stainless steel and wood sculpture suspended over the mouth of Mapes Creek in Beer Shiva Park in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. A master in working with wood, Grade meticulously crafted Gyre with tongue-and-groove slats surrounding a stainless steel frame. The artwork’s gently twisting form conjures a sail, rudder or elongated fin, and references the spiraling eddies of the water below and in adjacent Lake Washington. Sculpted with old-growth cedar salvaged from the Cedar River Watershed, the source of most of Seattle’s drinking water and vital to the area’s salmon habitat, Gyre reinforces the connection between the source of the region’s water and its destination.

The Lower Mapes Creek project is project of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), and both Gyre and Motion are funded by SPU’s 1% for Art funds.

Side note: the two-other project recognized by the Design Commission, Sound Transit’s Light Rail Station at the University of Washington and the Leaves of Remembrance project both included artworks.

Office of Arts & Culture participating in Seattle Design Festival 2015

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is participating in Seattle Design Festival 2015 with two unique events; a workshop that will explore the vision of an equitable city and a hands-on art making workshop with Portland artist Horatio Law for his temporary public artwork South Park Crisálida.

The Seattle Design Festival celebrates the ways design makes life better. The 2015 festival: Design for Equity explores how design can contribute to a more equitable society. From buildings that everyone can access and move through, to apps that enable civic participation by people in every location and language, to cities where we can all afford to live – design is a vehicle of innovation. Design for Equity invites us to create a future in which everyone in our society – from every background, ability, race, age, gender, location or economic status – can access the same opportunities and outcomes, both now and in the future.

Saturday, September 19 • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Seattle Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
WORKSHOP – Designing the Equitable City Four agencies from the City of Seattle present a workshop on visioning an equitable city.

Cities are spaces where diverse cultures, experiences, backgrounds, traditions and ways of being converge. They are nests for creative expression and offer pathways for unique and dynamic opportunities. Yet, although diversity is a clear asset to all cities, not all communities reap the same benefits of what a city has to offer.

The City of Seattle has made a commitment to work towards social equity with an emphasis on racial equity, across all departments. In this workshop you will hear from the City of Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Design Commission, Seattle’s Planning Commission and the Office of Arts & Culture as they share the role that we as designers, urban planners, and artists play in creating a new equitable vision for our cities. There will be a panel of commissioners, design professionals, artists and staff who will share what is happening at a city-wide level to realize the City’s commitment to building a racially equitable Seattle, followed by an interactive brainstorming breakout session where we will all explore our own individual roles in visioning and realizing a more inclusive home that serves all communities. There will be an opportunity to report out on the smaller-group discussions and share what we’ve learned from each other.

Sunday, September 20 • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
8709 14th Ave S, Seattle, 98108
WORKSHOP – South Park Crisálida – Envisioning Community Transformation Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and South Park Arts co-present Horatio Law’s South Park Crisálida

Portland artist Horatio Law and South Park Arts present a hands-on art making workshop that invites community members and Design in Public participants to partner in the creation of South Park Crisálida, a temporary public artwork that will be installed in the South Park neighborhood. Law’s sculpture invites the South Park community to be co-creator of the artwork by weaving “Community Yarns” that will form the outer skin of the artwork. Each participant will be able to create a 10’ “yarn” by weaving colorful ropes and incorporating personal artifacts. Design in Public participants are invited to observe and participate in this equity-building activity that empowers the community to create change.

Law is designing South Park Crisálida to raise community awareness about a sewer improvement project that Seattle Public Utilities will construct in 2016 and become a destination piece that attracts visitors to the neighborhood during construction. Through this workshop, community members and merchants will work together to build stronger ties, as well as incorporate their vision for a future transformed South Park.

“Community Yarns” created during the workshop will be displayed at the South Park Library (8604 Eighth Ave. S., 98108) until South Park Crisálida is installed in spring 2016. The artwork is commissioned by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture with Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds.

More information on SPU’s South Park Sewer Improvement Project can be found here.

ACCESSIBILITY: ADA/Wheelchair Accessible, Family Friendly, Scent-Free Space, Multilingual program: Spanish interpretation (please check back for additional language interpretation)

Seattle Design Commission has New Chair and Commissioner

The Seattle Design Commission has a new chair, and a new commissioner filling the architect position.

Shannon Loew is commission’s new chair. Shannon is the founder of Form In Context (a.k.a.  FIX), a small real estate development company focused on urban infill projects that stimulate community through shared values of innovation and creativity. FIX is the culmination of Shannon’s ongoing pursuit to create great places with inspiring, relevant design. Shannon is an associate member of the AIA, is LEED certified, and holds a Master of Architecture from the Harvard School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Architecture from Vassar College. He has worked with some of the largest real estate developers in the country, with prize winning architects in the U.S. and Europe, and at IDEO, where he designed on a range of issues from apparel retail to sustainable mineral resource extraction. His clients have included Marriott, Nike, Rio Tinto, and Forest City. Prior to his career in architecture, Shannon worked in marketing and business consulting for seven years in New York and South Africa on a diverse set of industries.

John Savo, AIA, is the new commissioner filling the architect position. John is a Principal with NBBJ in Seattle and a leader of the firm’s commercial and corporate practice. For over 30 years, John has been leading urban architecture projects that emphasize innovation, historic preservation and sustainability. A generalist, John has delivered a wide range of project types for his clients, including high-rise and mid-rise office and residential buildings, complex mixed-use projects, public infrastructure, corporate and institutional master plans, and historic building rehabilitations. In addition to practice, John has taught architecture and design at universities in Boston and Seattle and has served locally on the Boards of Leadership Tomorrow, the South Lake Union Community Council and the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce for which he served as President in 2012. John is also Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Seattle University’s Master Plan.  Passionate about advancing a more sustainable future, he has presented at numerous conferences, including Green Leaders Summit, Green Build and Code Green. Prior to joining NBBJ in 1985, John was with Olson Walker Architects in Seattle and Marcel Breuer Associates in NYC.


Design Excellence Awards Exhibit

The Seattle Design Commission held its Design Excellence awards on June 26 at Hub Impact, a unique shared work space in Pioneer Square. The Design Commission awarded four projects:

  • Kirke Park in Ballard
  • South Transfer Station in Georgetown
  • University of Washington’s West Campus public spaces
  • The Lake to Bay Plan

In addition the Design Commission gave honorable mentions to three projects:

  • Bell Street Park in Belltown
  • Fire Station 6 in the Central District
  • Madison Valley’s Stormwater Project, Phase 2

You can see the Design Excellence Awards display in Seattle Municipal Tower’s gallery space, located on the third floor of the building at 700 5th Avenue. The gallery space can be accessed through the buildings’ main entrance; the space is located one floor below the entrance.

If you want more information about the awards, contact:

Michael Jenkins, Design Commission Director
(206) 386-4024

Seattle Parks’ projects honored by Design Commission

Seattle Parks and Recreation has been honored for two of its recent park development projects by the Seattle Design Commission.

At the Design Commission’s Design Excellence Awards on Thursday, June 26, Commissioner Osama Quotah admitted that the Commission isn’t easy on designers.

“We ask project managers to do better, make changes and make a difference in the community,” Quotah said. “We push our design teams hard.”

The Commission reviewed 29 projects for this year’s awards and said that though each displayed merit, they were looking for projects that went above and beyond the expected. Seattle Parks projects were among the final seven projects that were recognized.

Planning and Development Director Michael Shiosaki accepted Kirke Park’s Design Excellence Award on behalf of Project Manager Kelly Goold.

Kirke Park – Design Excellence Award

Seattle Parks Project Manager Kelly Goold received a Design Excellence Award for Kirke Park.

The site for Kirke Park, in Ballard, was purchased with 2000 Pro Parks Levy funds and developed with 2008 Parks & Greens Spaces Levy funds. The park was originally named 9th Avenue NW Park and renamed Kirke Park which means “church” in Norwegian. This name pays tribute to both the Norwegian heritage of the neighborhood and the history of the site. This site was home to the Church of Seventh Elect in Spiritual Israel for more than 90 years.

Design Excellence Awards attendees admire Kirke Park display

Commissioner Megan Groth said the Commission was impressed by the designers’ ability to overcome the 20-foot grade change in the landscape and their incorporation of both passive and active recreation elements.

“The variety of spaces and programming that the designers fit into three-quarters of an acre is amazing,” Groth said. “They took into account the needs of the community. It is an exceptional example of a well-designed neighborhood park.”

Bell Street Park – Honorable Mention

Seattle Parks Project Manager Patrick Donohue received an Honorable Mention for Bell Street Park, located in downtown Seattle. Bell Street Park opened in April 2014. It converts one traffic lane along Bell Street and reconfigures parking to create a

Project Manager Patrick Donohue (left) receives an honorable mention for Bell Street Park

corridor through the heart of Belltown. The four-block area is improved with landscaping, better lighting, art and more open space. It welcomes bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists and provides the neighborhood with a new community gathering space.

“Bell Street recognizes the pedestrian quality of the neighborhood and integrates it safely with the road and cycling,” Commissioner Bernie Alonzo said. “It created new design standards for storm water and street integration. We’re excited to see future projects stem from the approach.”