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The Rising Park:
Pioneer Square is a neighborhood in Seattle Washington that gets its charm from numerous art galleries, coffee shops and public parks set within its historic backdrop. The existing underutilized building we have chosen to dissect is known as The Sinking Ship. It is a multi-story parking garage bound by James Street, Yesler Way and 2nd Avenue. 2nd Avenue is a bus thoroughfare. The parking structure is located on an iconic site. This was the site of the historic Seattle Hotel, that was demolished in 1961. The Sinking Ship Parking Garage was built in 1965 as part of a neighborhood redesign. However, the structure is now viewed by many as an eye sore.
Our design illustrates an intent to connect this area of Pioneer Square visually and physically to the businesses on either side of the structure. In its current form, the parking garage acts as a massive visual and physical blockage. Our design suggests the deconstruction of the ships bow to a connection point and start of a circulation path between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue when the city grid changes in axis to align with the neighboring Central Business District. Deconstructing the bow and adding circulation opportunities from the intersection of James Street and Yesler Way reduces the appearance of the physical barrier between Pioneer Square Park and Occidental Square. Primary pedestrian (shown in green) and vehicular (shown in orange) paths are illustrated in Image 1. The cascading water features aid in reducing the noise pollution created by the city and specifically the heavy traffic native to Second Avenue. They also help reduce the size of gatherings that can occur throughout the roof top park.
As a result of the current health crisis our design considers its community impact by ensuring safe social distancing protocols are incorporated. From the wide circulation path up the side of the existing structure, to the subdivided park by use of earth and water the functions below the roof top park have also been considered. In order to avoid congested interior environments that are hard to socially distance within, our design incorporates sidewalk vendors on both sides of the existing structure, along James Street and Yesler Way. The interior of the structure is programmed to be utilized by street vendors who sell local souvenirs and delicious delicacies from on the go snacks to quick meal bites. The vendors would connect with the public through storefront windows, keeping the interior of the structure for the operational and storage needs of the vendors.
The goal of our group was to think creatively about the end use of our design and how Pioneer Square residents and visitors could better integrate themselves with the existing structure and the existing environment.
(Citation: Background images taken from Google Maps, edited by group members.)
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