The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Unveils Janet Echelman’s Latest Work: “Impatient Optimist” in Seattle
A new aerial sculpture by renowned artist Janet Echelman has been installed at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle. Entitled “Impatient Optimist,” the sculpture consists of a custom net structure suspended above the courtyard, resulting in an ethereal floating surface which seems to defy gravity. The award-winning artist’s piece hovers above the city as a symbol of connectivity and stands as a testament to the impact an individual can have on a broader scale.
Nearly a year-and-a-half since the announcement of their selection, BIG has unveiled plans for a massive, 20-year-long overhaul for the Smithsonian’s southern campus in the center of Washington DC. With an overarching goal to unite the site by dissolving the notable impediments and discontinuous pathways that plague the area, BIG plans to also expand visitor, education and gallery spaces, while updating aging and inefficient building systems.
“Where today each museum is almost like a separate entity, in the future, it’s going to be a much more open, intuitive and inviting campus to meander around,” Bjarke Ingels explained.
Forty years ago, the Expo ’74 World’s Fair opened in Spokane, Washington to great fanfare as the world’s first environmentally themed Expo. Perhaps equally as momentous, the former Soviet Union participated for the first time since World War II, and 5.6 million people attended throughout the course of the six month long Fair. This year, Olson Kundig Architects, led by design principal Tom Kundig, partnered with the City of Spokane to reinvent the original park with new concept designs for its structures, program, and facilities.
This year’s Seattle Design Festival, hosted by Design in Public and AIA Seattle, will feature large scale installations, home tours, walking tours, films, lectures, exhibitions, competitions, activities, pop-up parklets, and more which is open to the general public. The city-wide event takes place September 13-22 with the hub of the festival at the ‘Design Block’ in Pioneer Square. This year’s theme is ‘Design in Health’ exploring the connection between environmental design and health & well-being. Design can improve health by: promoting physical activity, increasing access to healthy food, reducing injuries, improving air and water quality, minimizing stress, and strengthening the social fabric of communities. More information after the break.
In an attempt to “create an alternative environment” in the center of Amazon’s recently approved, three-block headquarters planned for downtown Seattle, NBBJ has submitted a revision that would replace a six-story office building with a tri-sphere biodome that will host various forms of plant life and provide a more natural setting for employees to work and socialize. Perhaps this change is Amazon’s way of “keeping up with the Joneses”, as many leading corporations – Apple, Google, and Facebook - have been unveiling plans to construct one-of-the-kind office complexes centered around sustainability, innovation and collaboration.
The Bullitt Center, a six-story, 50,000 square foot office building in Seattle that aspires to be the world’s greenest commercial building, opens its doors to the public today on Earth Day. This $30 million “living laboratory,” designed by Miller Hull Partnership, distinguishes itself from other sustainable projects with its composting toilets, the exclusion of 350 common toxic chemicals – including PVC, lead, mercury, phthalates, BPA and formaldehyde – along with a strict energy and water budget that aims for self-sufficiency under the Living Building Challenge. The environmentally-conscious Bullitt Foundation hopes that the new center will demonstrate that carbon-neutral office space can be “commercially viable and aesthetically stunning,” a series of systems that can be easily copied elsewhere without being overly demanding in upkeep.
Read more about the Bullitt Center after the break…
Seattle-based architect Jim Olson of Olson Kundig Architects has been selected by Washington State University to design a new Museum of Art. Over the years, Olson has complied a spectacular portfolio of stunning homes designed for art collectors worldwide. This experience has given Olson a “wealth of experience in not only crafting beautiful environments for works of art, but in working with artists to discover new opportunities for expressing their creativity,” according to Chris Bruce, director of the museum.
The Seattle Center HUB (Hybrid Urban Bioscape) is an innovative urban space that explores the value of urban hybridization as a design opportunity to address sustainable and technological issues in the definition of the contemporary public space. The starting point for the proposal by Aétrangère was to introduce an innovative approach to reach the same goals envisioned by the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan. Instead of conceiving the demolitions, reconstructions, new buildings, the underground parking, and the major open space as separate elements, they allow some degree of integration for sustainable features we focused on defining this public space project starting from a sustainable approach. More images and architects’ description after the break.
RETHINK REUSE recently announced the winning entries in their Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition. With the goal of envisioning new, innovative reuse strategies, the winners successfully answer the questions: What is a floating bridge when its function is no longer needed? What can designers do when faced with the design problem of reusing thirty-three floating concrete pontoons? More images and information on the winners after the break.
With a 3-2 vote, Seattle’s Downtown Design Review Board has voted in favor of Amazon’s plans for a three-block, high-rise complex in the Denny Triangle. The board voted after conducting five, comprehensive meetings over the last six months to review Amazon’s evolving NBBJ-designed proposal. Although this design review approval is simply a recommendation to the city’s Department of Planning and Development, it is still a milestone for the ambitious project.
The five acre site, roughly located between Sixth Avenue, Blanchard Street and Westlake Avenue, is currently occupied by expansive parking lots, the Sixth Avenue Inn and the King Cat Theater. Continue after the break to learn more.