View Full Version : Seattle

August 26th, 2006, 06:50 PM
Just spent a week on vacation, with only two days in Seattle. I would have liked a few more days, but I got to see a good amount of it.

This first one is from the observation deck of the Space Needle, looking south at downtown:

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp349%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96275%3C63nu0mrj

Looking southeast, with the neighborhood of Belltown in the foreground, and Capitol Hill in the far-right center:

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp349%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96275%3C64nu0mrj

Another look at Downtown, with the waterfront visible. In the distance, you can see Seattle's new complex of sports stadiums, located at the boundary of Chinatown. It's well-positioned at the terminus of I-90, but otherwise the neighborhood is a veritable wasteland. Also, if you can squint through the haze, the peak of Mount Rainier is visible just to the right of the absolute center of the photo.

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp352%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96285343nu0mrj

Looking west/northwest, towards Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Mountains in the distance:

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp355%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96275%3C65nu0mrj

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp356%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96275%3C66nu0mrj

In this photo, you can see most of Belltown. Adjacent to the Seattle Center, notice how many parking lots and underused sites occupy the landscape. On the other (north) side of the center, the neighborhood of Queen Anne begins. The streets adjacent to the center look pretty derelict; it's mainly a lower-income working class area that gets nicer as you go up the hill, and away from the center. On yet another side of the Seattle center (the southwest side), the neighborhood has more new construction, but only on the waterfront side of the Alaskan Way viaduct (more on that later).

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp349%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96285344nu0mrj

I didn't much like the Seattle Center, and took very few pictures of it. It looks dated, and is a perfect example of misguided 60's-era planning that produced so many of these civic centers in American cities. The complex disrupts a large portion of the Seattle street grid, so much so that all avenues going north experience a sharp right turn at Denny Way, which is the southern boundary of the Center; thereafter, they're referred to as Nth Avenue North. Some streets, such as 4th Avenue, completely disappear from view, and it becomes difficult for a newcomer to find his way. I was looking for a particular Cafe that had an address on 4th Avenue North, and ended up wandering around Queen Anne for about 15 minutes, finally asking a clerk at a 7 Eleven for directions. He didn't know what I was talking about. A cab driver thankfully pulled up, and told me it was a short walk back south of the Seattle Center. I eventually found the cafe, but also found myself cursing this disruption of the street grid, which seemed to make no sense at all.

The icon:

http://images1.snapfish.com/3479868%3A4%7Ffp348%3Evq%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3B4748997%3Avq0mrj (http://www1.snapfish.com/slideshow/AlbumID=55788773/PictureID=1555434922/a=15273779_15273779/t_=15273779)

Edit: Couldn't get this one to link in full size, for some reason.

Contrary to popular belief, the Space Needle is not the tallest structure in Seattle. It barely breaches 600 feet, and the observation deck is at a measly 520 feet. Several downtown skyscrapers are taller than this, but its relative isolation on a higher piece of ground affords it the splendid views that I showed above. That's one thing about Seattle: it's blessed with beautiful scenery in all directions.

The Experience Music Project, with Seattle Monorail in the foreground:

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp354%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A9628533%3Cnu0mrj

I found this particular structure ghastly. It looked misshapen, miscolored, misguided, and basically devoid of any redeeming characteristics. I was thinking about going inside, but its exterior was so uninviting, and even repulsive, that I decided against it. This is Gehry at his worst, and while I haven't seen the Disney Concert Hall in person, I think that building is much more graceful and inviting than this lump.

The unquestionable highlight of my stay in Seattle:

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp355%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B% 3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96285346nu0mrj

http://images1.snapfish.com/34798666%3B%7Ffp34%3B%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3 B%3EWSNRCG%3D3233%3A96275%3C67nu0mrj

Pike Place Market. Granted, it was on a beautiful Sunday morning, but the place was incredibly packed, and it was difficult to distinguish tourists in what I believe was a mainly Seattlian crowd. The street itself is not completely closed to cars, although it becomes impassable in certain parts where produce stands rule. An open-air, but roofed, market is on the waterfront side. Truly a sight to see. I could only hope that Manhattan develops something similar like this on the East River waterfront downtown, and the FDR need not be an obstacle. Alaskan Way - an unsightly, double-decked elevated highway, looms over the waterfront, but pedestrian access is very easy, and aided by an abundance of staircases and elevators. In the small alleys away from the waterfront, more merchants do business, and people can be seen everywhere. It was a picture of urban livelihood at its finest.

August 26th, 2006, 07:06 PM
A few more random ones:

The new Seattle Public Library, designed by Rem Koolhass:

http://images1.snapfish.com/347986892%7Ffp356%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B%3E WSNRCG%3D3233%3A96285347nu0mrj

View of the Space Needle from Volunteer Park, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood:

http://images1.snapfish.com/347986892%7Ffp349%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B%3E WSNRCG%3D3233%3A96275%3C68nu0mrj

The Volunteer Park Conservancy:

http://images1.snapfish.com/347986892%7Ffp347%3Enu%3D3247%3E4%3A5%3E9%3A%3B%3E WSNRCG%3D3233%3A96275%3C73nu0mrj

August 26th, 2006, 07:24 PM
If you'd gone inside that "Gehry" building you'd have found someone else did the interior. And the exterior is nothing more than a preliminary styling study. It's unfair to attribute any of this to Gehry. He was being used.

Pike Street Market in Manhattan: put it in the Governors Island Ferry terminal.

August 26th, 2006, 11:04 PM
I wasn't aware there was another architect. Are you talking about Paul Allen tailoring the building to his personal specifications?

In any case, it doesn't seem consistent with Gehry's character (insofar as I've come to know it) that he would be used thusly. He seems like an independent-minded fellow, someone who would resign from a project if he were being forced to design something that wasn't truly his own (the very opposite of someone like David Childs). I think he resigned from the WTC competition for that very reason.

Has he ever tried to publicly distance himself from the project?

August 26th, 2006, 11:27 PM
Pike Street Market in Manhattan: put it in the Governors Island Ferry terminal.

Are you talking about this (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4685&highlight=battery+maritime)?