ARCH 401 | A Metabolic Seattle
The 401 studio with Ken Oshima is about considering a metabolic Seattle. The fundamentals of metabolism embrace flexibility and change – as society changes, so does the architecture. Our site is the Seattle Center, a complex that is more than simply the home of the Space Needle.
At the beginning of the quarter, Ken gave us the daunting task of considering where we will be in 50 years. What would an average day be? What will the world look like? How will technology change? Will we still eat the same way?! It was unanimous among our studio that cereal will still be around.
So, with the future hovering in our minds, we then began to look into the history of the Seattle Center, our eventual site, particularly at the glorified World’s Fair in 1962. We paid particular attention to the change of infrastructure after the World’s Fair as the purpose of Seattle Center continued to alter. Upon our site visit, we noticed the Center’s urban issues, as the various buildings tried to reconcile a lack of unity. As part of our site analysis, we each made an interpretive collage of our impression of Seattle Center.
Our first project was to design a temporary structure that embraces a certain activity in the Seattle Center. Our “pavilion” of sorts had to be deconstructable and be able to reactivate a specific location of our site. There were many different approaches: a mobile library, bars, a musical stage, illuminated huts, gathering pavilions, a cafe, a yoga space, and a playground.
Noriyuki Tajima joined our studio for the following few weeks, starting at our review for project one. Now, our bigger vision is a mediatheque. But, honestly, what is a mediatheque? It is a surprisingly ambiguous building type, more than just a neo-library, which ties perfectly with our whole theme of metabolism (clever, Ken…). In our interpretations, we had to consider how a mediatheque could adapt to the continuous change in technology and the way we use information. Does progression move linearly or does it move like a pendulum? Well, in the beginning, we were stumped.
Gradually, we each came up with our own interpretations and what our programs would entail. Our actual site, or at least our starting point, is the International Fountain pavilion, which is north of the Key Arena and perpendicular to SIFF. Hidden by a row of trees, the pavilion addresses a number of problems within our site – circulation of tourists and locals, balance of scale, site connections, preservation, etc. Some of us focused more on how people use media and how space can shape that movement; some looked at how a mediatheque can inform the public, and some looked at the mediatheque urbanistically as a part of the Seattle Center. As part of our design process, Ken and Tajima emphasized the importance of sketching by hand. What began as an innocent joke ended with an assignment to do a 100 sketches. Don’t mess with Tajima…
Last Friday (Feb 8), we had our schematic review, and the monday after, we had a jam session with Wyn Bielaska from Callison Architecture in which we made models, ate healthy snacks, and took model pictures with our smartphones. Now, we are preparing for our mid-review which will be on the 27th. There has been a great variety of projects, and here are a number of photos from the past month.
Jam session with Wyn: Hope Luquette
Jam session with Wyn: Susan Du
Written by Angela Yang