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Friday, June 22, 2007

Just Odd

posted by on June 22 at 10:55 AM

The remarkable thing about the condominium under construction across the street from the Seattle Central Library is not that it’s striving for LEED-Gold certification, or that it’s the first of what in the future will be many “tall skinny” towers in the financial district, or that the price of the penthouses on its 24th floor range from $1,895,000 to $2,600,000. What’s remarkable is this:
d02446272208.jpg Designed by Ruffcorn Mott Hinthorne Stine, a firm that’s part of the ambitious Stadium West and East project, this colorfully tiled wall on the south facade articulates, according to floor plans, the area along which two elevators will service 5th and Madison when its completed in August. The big question is this: Why did the architects choose something that opposes, that works against, that almost undoes the modernistic sleekness of the tower? Most of 5th and Madison appears to be rational (the best type of architecture—or ecotecture), and this considerable confusion of tiles appears to be so whimsical. It’s not entirely bad, just remarkably odd.

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You think the reason all the buildings downtown are condos is because the the city's business tax is so high that no one wants to move into offices in the city?

Posted by Angry Andrew | June 22, 2007 11:10 AM

I think it looks cool, and it's an indication we're learning the right lessons from Vancouver: build unobtrusive density and don't fall into the predictable pattern of aqua glass-and-steel sameness. Yeah, I can't afford it, but I'd rather have execs and lawyers living close to their jobs downtown than commuting from Newcastle. Plus with more political heavies living in downtown the momentum for better transit and neighborhood amenities will increase.

Posted by Patrick | June 22, 2007 11:32 AM

I can't really tell what I'm looking at here. Can you post a link to a higher resolution photo? Despite all the nasty things I've said about your graduate education? Thanks in advance.

Posted by Big Sven | June 22, 2007 11:33 AM

Odd... for once I agree with a Mudede assessment. I too have been watching this install but wondering... a random pattern or are the workers following a plan? And if a plan, what is the end result? To make it look like random, unpatterned blocks of color, or is it still too incomplete to embolden the pattern?

Posted by Phenics | June 22, 2007 11:42 AM

Whimsy is a positive thing. We don't need another boring steel and glass penis.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | June 22, 2007 12:01 PM

I have been watching it develop outside my office window. I have to say, I really like it. More so than the other side of the building, in fact. Bring on the color and whimsy! Seattle's office tower architecture is by and large D-U-L-L! Unfortunately, the colors are better viewed up close though, so it's difficult to see the detail from a distance.
Next I'm going to try to decode the formula for the pattern. Is it truly random?

Posted by Dod | June 22, 2007 12:33 PM

Seattle's office AND residential tower development is DULL!

Posted by Dod | June 22, 2007 12:36 PM

True, very dull.

We need to make cool stuff like Vancouver does.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 22, 2007 1:06 PM

charles, i don't think you were in Murka for the blue-and-white glass tile era.

this looks great. how would you have articulated that wall better? compare it to the new hotel on 1st, which looks like shite, or worse, the crap "apache" art hanging off the tower at the north end of Qwest Field.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 22, 2007 1:08 PM

With Seattle's dismal grey for 8 months of the year, it would be nice to see a lot more color in our architecture. Yay for color and whimsy!

But then, I want every architect in the city to try to incorporate some surreality into their works...

Posted by NaFun | June 22, 2007 1:10 PM

I agree we need more color and architectural diversity.

It's weird that Seattle people totally piss themselves when a building goes up that's neither a glass box nor a Craftsman bungalow.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 22, 2007 2:31 PM

Charles, soullessness has to come from within. You cannot force or manufacture soullessness. Creating buildings that mimic the forms of soullessness is inadequate. So you bolt on some whimsy, and create a new kind of soullessness, which will only be fully revealed in the future.

Posted by Fnarf | June 22, 2007 3:09 PM

Show me the piss!

Posted by Patrick | June 22, 2007 8:24 PM

As much as i love you Mudede, you have the architectural taste of Ayn Rand. Glass and cement boxes for the sake of boxiness, and any decorative flourish is a cowardly affront to the vision of modernity

Posted by Vooodooo84 | June 22, 2007 10:01 PM

I assume the color is there to break the monotony. It seems to be working to that effect. Nice.

Posted by lawrence clark | June 23, 2007 12:21 AM

Believe me once you have hundreds of nondescript green glass condo towers built in Seattle then you will understand why it is important to have something distinct on some of them. Cheap towers usually are boring but sell well so lots will be built.
Vancouver Canada

Posted by -B- | June 23, 2007 10:20 AM
Posted by -B- | June 23, 2007 10:22 AM

Thanks, yowza. I kind of like it. I like how it fades to indeterminateness with distance, yet the color choices are very complimentary up close. Before I saw the large image, I thought it might be a little to retro-60's-ish, but this seems to work pretty well...

Posted by Big Sven | June 23, 2007 6:07 PM

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