With a challenge to make a series of random ephemeral public spaces using a simple structure in the Seattle Center, the intervention by Hoshino Architects proposes areas of such spaces to be transformed to voids and purely leave the circulation spaces on the ground level. In contrast, the public contents circles are randomly scattered on the field level. As normal urban spaces, the circulation spaces sometimes change to unexpected functions, such as a viewing gallery for the event staged at the field level. This dual layer structure intertwines and creates the complex ‘Porous-scape’. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In the 20th century, public space had a symbolic order. The development of social networking services in the 21st century allowed people to create public spaces on the Internet. One of significant movements of recent years is the political movement of SNS and people that occupied the 20th Century type public spaces. People are not wandering around, but meeting with purpose. Such spaces do not need form and large open spaces to function as gathering spaces.
What is a meaningful public space for the coming century? There are hints in the virtual public spaces on the Internet. The virtual public spaces are sometimes voids and can suddenly change to occupy large circles of people with variety of contents. The random ephemeral spaces repeating, emerging and disappearing without having certain form attracts people. The public space in the real city needs to change along with the virtual spaces.
The first step is to separate the ground level to circulation and field level containing the contents. The ground level circle spaces are transformed to voids and circles with public contents are randomly scattered on the field level. This dual layer structure makes the ‘Porous-scape’. The voids and circles intertwine and create complexity of random ephemeral spaces repeating, emerging and disappearing. The ‘Porous-scape’ provides the ephemeral public spaces and attracts people.
In the Seattle Center, the buildings are located following the urban grid of the typical 20th Century order. The contents of the buildings have rich variety from culture to sports and education. The intervention site is located at the heart of the Seattle Center and linking the Central House Zone with the monorail station to the Theater District Zone. The intervention of the 21st century type random public spaces at the heart of the Seattle Center shuffle the visitors and accelerate the interaction of the existing rich contents. This creates the attractive urban spaces.
If you have a question, you only need to click several times to find the answer on the Internet. At the same time, you will meet items relating to the question. Sometimes people meet each other sharing the same question. Suddenly a public space emerges on the Internet. People are attracted by such accidental encounters. This intervention has a complex circulation linking people. It has a different character from the simple routing circulation with short cuts. The visitors can choose any available route. The random voids create multiple choices to walk along. This complex circulation gives people the accidental nature and the curiosity of exploring the public spaces. As people walk around, the scenery becomes more complex and provides similar feelings as wandering through the Internet.
The ground level and field level are connected by sloped plates at four locations and provide smooth transition. People can naturally walk around both levels. At the basement levels, 1300 car parking spaces are proposed on two levels. The loading facilities and the bus terminal are provided on the west part of the basement. The circulation cores are clearly located and connect the visitors directly to the field level from the basement levels.
The buildings around the site belong to the Theater District Zone, EMP and Central House Zone including cultural, sports and educational facilities. One of the key purposes of this intervention is to connect the existing rich contents with attractive landscaping. In contrast, with the surrounding buildings, the rich contents including sports, culture, art, education, edible landscape and renewable energy facilities are randomly scattered on the field level. The visitors can wander around the random contents and enjoy the encounters and surprises. It is possible to occupy the series of the circles on the field level for large events and sometimes a small meeting will be held at one of the smaller circle spaces. This variety of contents will make diversity of people visit the ‘Porous-scape’.
The ‘Porous-scape’ provides the visitors with variety of scenarios to spend their time. For example someone visiting an outdoor concert can later stay at the organic café looking over the edible landscape. Children can play at the field and experience how renewable energy is generated in the center of the city. The mixture of contents and complex nature of the circulation create attractive experiences for wandering and exploring the spaces.
Using the layer structure, the ‘Porous-scape’ maximizes the re-use of grey water and rainwater including storm water. The wind turbines are placed on the field level public circles and the energy will be stored and used for lighting and water management system. This is not only to save energy use but also part of educational purpose. The edible landscape is proposed at various locations and provide fresh produce for café foods. The leftover from the café food will be used as compost for the edible landscape. The proposal will maximize the use of renewable energy and resources.
Architects: Hoshino Architects Location: Seattle, Washington, United States Design Team: Hiroaki Hoshino, Nozomi Hoshino, Taichi Maeda Project Title: PORPUS-SCAPE, Urban Intervention Seattle Center Competition Project Area: 36,000sqm