Dorte Mandrup Studio May03


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Dorte Mandrup Studio

Dorte Mandrup Studio: Public Dialogue

Danish Architect, Dorte Mandrup,  returns to Architecture Hall this spring (she taught a studio here last year in the spring) for an intensive design studio which, this year, focuses on a portion of James Corner Field Operations’ plan for the Seattle waterfront. The core of JCFO’s plan is near Pike Place Market which leaves the Belltown portion of the plan slightly less considered. Before Dorte arrived the students along with co-Professor Peter Cohan had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Seattle Department of Planning and Development. DPD encouraged us, the students, to explore what might be possible on a site loaded with challenges such as extreme grade changes and the complex traffic engineering that replaces the viaduct.

IMG_001Students walking the site in the shadow of the viaduct. One of the biggest challenges is simply imagining the site without the viaduct.

By the time Dorte arrived for the first of two 8-day charrettes,  student teams had generated 1:500 site design proposals that both worked with and challenged the JCFO proposal. The bounds of the site begin at Lenora Street and the railroad to the southwest and extend to 1st Ave and Battery Street to the northeast. Working with Dorte and Peter, the student urban design teams identified sites and proposed programs for the sites. All of the schemes identified Western Ave as an important link between the market and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Many of the opportunities of the site lie in the cross-hairs of providing public amenities that can serve an out of town visitor and a Belltown resident alike.

IMG_002For the duration of Dorte Mandrup’s 8-day visit students worked and met with her and Peter Cohan in studio every day.

IMG_003Orderly desks were not a priority during Dorte’s visit.

Dorte’s visit culminated with a review of the urban design schemes along with specific site proposals composed by individual students. Reviewers included Dave Miller, Susan Jones, Win Bielaska, and Cary Moon. The review featured a spirited discussion of public space and how the built environment defines the public realm. Currently, students are making adjustments to the urban design schemes in response to the review while also pushing the form and program of individual sites. When Dorte returns in a few weeks there will be a review of the urban design schemes including feedback from DPD before a final review of the individual site and building proposals.

IMG_004Dave Miller responds to a student team’s urban design proposal for the Belltown portion of the Seattle waterfront plan as Win Bielaska and students look on.

IMG_005Dorte Mandrup defends the notion that a building can be as public as a park.

IMG_006One student team’s proposal for the site as seen from an aerial waterfront perspective.

Written by Philip Syvertsen

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