Archinect - Lost at SEA 2014-10-25T19:07:10-04:00 http://archinect.com/blog/article/110453747/i-5-colonnade-park I-5 Colonnade Park Evan Chakroff 2014-10-04T03:10:00-04:00 >2014-10-08T18:10:02-04:00 <p><img alt="" src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5599/15411126526_83aa2e7b1c_b.jpg">[photoset: under I-5, capitol hill/eastlake, seattle]</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/104645536/life-support-the-neukom-vivarium Life Support: the Neukom Vivarium Evan Chakroff 2014-07-20T17:57:00-04:00 >2014-07-29T20:27:02-04:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/ds/dsuhygkc6pazohtk.jpg">Tucked into a corner of Seattle's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Sculpture_Park" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Olympic Sculpture Park</a>, a nondescript glass&nbsp;shed is easily passed by. While the park contains a flashy collection of public&nbsp;art (including a Calder, a Serra, an Oldenburg), the most compelling work here&nbsp;could easily be mistaken for a community greenhouse. Which, in a sense, it&nbsp;is...</p><p>Mark Dion's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neukom_Vivarium" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Neukom Vivarium</a> installation (2006, with Owen Richards Architects)&nbsp;consists of only a few essential elements: the shed tapers boldly from end-to-end but is otherwise fairly banal, with a simply detailed curtain wall. Inside,&nbsp;a 60-foot log lies in a tiled planter bed. Daylight filters through green-tinted skylights. The tiled walls are decorated with illustrations of insects, plants, and animals.</p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/yv/yvwpg53luwc4hn38.jpg"></p><p>This decomposing trunk is a '<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurse_log" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">nurse log</a>' kept here in a giant vitrine for observation. In nature, the nurse log is an essential component of the forest ecosystem, especially in the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperate_rain_forest" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">temperate rainforests</a> of the Pacific Northwest (where replenishing natural forest fires ar...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/104257443/bikini-baristas Bikini Baristas Evan Chakroff 2014-07-15T17:06:00-04:00 >2014-07-23T12:02:33-04:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/vd/vdnx67qjz92hmwv9.jpg">A few years ago, as I prepared to move to China from Italy, I anticipated some serious withdrawal symptoms. I had grown accustomed - no, <em>dependent </em>- on Rome's ubiquitous cafes. Any slot of space big enough to hold an espresso machine could qualify. Place a rickety table out on the cobblestones, and you're in business. My daily routine would take me to these cafe-bars four or five times daily... for a morning croissant and <em>doppio </em>with soda back, a few times throughout the day for a cappuccino or americano (iced in summer, though I always felt a little guilty about this...), and, usually, after work for a beer or two. These cafes were everywhere, and I knew I would miss them. While Shanghai had its fair share of Starbucks and a few other chains, "real" cafes were sparse... and those that had invested in the bulky, imported, expensive equipment were usually too crowded to be enjoyable.&nbsp;</p><p>So, I was excited to move to Seattle, in part due to its famous coffee culture. While Starbucks is do...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/103639752/synthetic-st-burlap-blvd Synthetic St. & Burlap Blvd. Evan Chakroff 2014-07-07T16:08:00-04:00 >2014-07-21T20:42:47-04:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/u7/u78w6s2dkn32kzrz.jpg"></p><p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/o2/o2l5l14oyq5zbtca.jpg"></p><p>One of Seattle's true lost wonders, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_Plant_2" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Boeing Plant #2</a> was constructed in the run-up to World War II, as a production facility for new, metal aircraft, replacing the obsolete Plant #1, whose facilities were (somewhat shockingly, from today's perspective) focused on the production of <em>wooden </em>aircraft, and thus lacked the metalworking facilities required for the new models.</p><p>In a very real sense, the construction of this new, modern facility represented the shifting economy in early 20th century Seattle. The city has always, it seems, been a 'company town' in the sense that a single industry (if not a single company!) has dominated the city's economic growth in each era. The city was essentially founded as a logging community (allegedly supplying much of the lumber used to build San Francisco), and while a vibrant trading economy developed in the years of the Klondike gold rush, lumber and associated industries flourished right up into the 20th century.&nbsp;Boeing, the corporation that would do...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/103350917/seed-of-a-garden Seed of a Garden Evan Chakroff 2014-07-03T22:06:00-04:00 >2014-07-07T22:05:15-04:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/rb/rbkytudh1w30nqbg.jpg">Chinese garden design is an artistic practice that, by most accounts, has evolved over thousands of years. Several of Suzhou's famous gardens claim to have been founded in the first and second centuries C.E., their design evolving over time with expansion, destruction, restoration, etc. While many of China's remaining classical gardens are now protected landmarks (and, thus, frozen in their design), the typology is best appreciated as an ever-evolving synthesis of landscape and architecture, with a design that is constantly in flux, with each generation making their own modifications and refinements.</p><p>Which is to say, I can't criticize Seattle's Chinese Garden too harshly, given that they've only completed a small portion of their ambitious plan. What exists now, <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Seattle+Chinese+Garden/@47.553387,-122.3461166,15z/data=!4m6!1m3!3m2!1s0x0:0xbccf8265bdcc2660!2sSouth+Seattle+Community+College!3m1!1s0x0:0x8c2317dcb71635d8" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">in a park adjacent to South Seattle Community College</a>, is disappointing, consisting of a barren courtyard and one small pavilion, with the rough contours of future ponds sculpted in gravel. If and when the garden is completed...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/102627043/gate-to-nowhere Gate to Nowhere Evan Chakroff 2014-06-24T14:00:00-04:00 >2014-07-02T11:41:12-04:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/gk/gkyj40wp3521nm6j.jpg"></p><p>I-5 is one of the most frustrating things about Seattle. The highway slices north-south between downtown and the Capitol Hill and First Hill neighborhoods, severing most of the surface roads running east to west, effectively disconnecting the hilltop neighborhoods from the commercial core. The deleterious effect on Seattle's urbanism was certainly recognized early on - as evinced by the design for <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=Freeway+Park+(Lawrence+Halprin,+1976&amp;safe=off&amp;es_sm=122&amp;tbm=isch&amp;tbo=u&amp;source=univ&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=V6upU9r7GcjqoATp-ILoCg&amp;ved=0CB4QsAQ&amp;biw=1226&amp;bih=717" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Freeway Park</a> (Lawrence Halprin, 1976), which attempts to mend the gap with brutalist concrete and hanging gardens.</p><p>While I-5 was being completed, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._H._Thomson_Expressway#expressway" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">another north-south route was being planned</a>. Located a few miles east, the road would have cut through quiet Montlake neighborhood and portions of the Washington Park Arboretum. Thanks to protests in 1969, the project was scrapped, but several ramps had been constructed, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_State_Route_520#Ghost_ramps" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">over the wetlands between the arboretum and SR-520</a>.</p><p>Over the intervening decades, the abandoned ramps became a popular spot for graffiti artists, skateboarders, picnics, outdoor pa...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/102582059/lost-at-sea Lost at SEA Evan Chakroff 2014-06-23T22:31:59-04:00 >2014-07-03T20:39:28-04:00 <p><img title="" alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/zv/zv0d4a4fl2gyzjkx.jpg"></p><p>I was hoping for some culture shock.</p><p>After a year each in Basel and Rome, and three years in Shanghai, I had become somewhat addicted to novelty, to that sense of discovery one feels exploring a new city. Arrival is a thrill. You know nothing, but find your way, assembling a mental map &nbsp;from disintegrating brochures or hasty sketches reproduced from hostel cork-boards. Stringing together fragments of the local language you learn enough, at first, to order a beer; later, to ask directions, or joke with colleagues. The novelty fades, and you move on, exploring further afield. You dig into the history books, try to determine why the city formed the way it did, try to uncover aspects of the culture that will inform its future growth.&nbsp;</p><p>While living abroad, I tried to understand culture through architecture and urban morphology. I tried to identify unique formal devices that I could borrow for my own projects, tried to find typologies that were common across continents, or specific to a cer...</p>