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Friday, April 11, 2008

A Foster for Seattle

posted by on April 11 at 11:57 AM

Look closely at this skyline of the future and you find a tower designed by none other than Norman Robert Foster:
Picture%2011.jpg Yes, Seattle is on the way to possessing what must be Foster’s only tower on the West Coast. The local company heading the project is Triad Development, and the location of the tower will be across the street from the west face of the horrible City Hall—between third and fourth. Shooting for a gold LEED rating, the tower, 520 feet high, will be one with the underground, the light rail station—apparently one of the main reasons Foster took an interest in the project. Also in the works is the production of a public space that could be what Westlake Center never became, a civic core. I’ll write more about this project in next week’s paper.

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Oooh! A starchitect!
Hog heaven!

Though I admit that Foster is definitely a cut above the rest and is doing some interesting work on a new city in (I think it is) Abu Dhabi. And the Bridge is great -- just wonder how much is Foster and how much the engineer.

Posted by David Sucher | April 11, 2008 12:21 PM

damn, i just got a Frank Lloyd Boner.

Posted by j-zeezer | April 11, 2008 12:28 PM

A civic core. Down there. Right.

I have nothing to say about this building, but what in the hell is wrong with that picture?

Posted by Fnarf | April 11, 2008 12:49 PM

#3: It's a picture FROM THE FUTURE!!!

Posted by Jay | April 11, 2008 12:51 PM

Seattle came close to having its very own plaza at Westlake Center, but the kibosh was put on that when business interests and an election re-opened Pine Street to automobile traffic. The re-opening was a citywide initiative that suburbanites favored and downtown residents opposed strongly. Then Nordstrom got involved threatening that they wouldn't rehab the old F&N location unless the street was re-opened. The city feared that without Nordstrom's renewal project underway, the rest of downtown would go to hell in a hand basket - lots of new, upscale vendors wanted to inhabit Nordstrom's old location.

I wonder what would happen if downtown residents imposed their wishes on Southcenter, say, or Lake City. That was years ago now and our once-upon-a-time plaza has a greasy road running through it with walk signals to get from one side of it to the other.

Downtown is usually crowded these days by noon as is Westlake Center, but it has lost most of its charm and almost all of its soul to (as far as I can tell) tourists and Christmas shoppers who couldn't care less about a nice, breezy, late summer evening stroll through what used to be the center of our downtown.

Posted by Bauhaus | April 11, 2008 1:01 PM

@4 not bad considering it's red-shifted.

Posted by infrequent | April 11, 2008 1:02 PM

It kinda looks like a lipstick tube.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 11, 2008 1:06 PM

Bauhaus, that was beautiful. your writing made my day.

Posted by charles mudede | April 11, 2008 1:09 PM

I thought the Seattle Center was supposed to be our "civic core."

Good thing we're turning it into our civic front lawn, er, excuse me, "open space."

Posted by joykiller | April 11, 2008 1:13 PM

Woah! I remember when I fought that bastard Dr. Breen at the top of that building.

Ah memories!

Posted by Gordon | April 11, 2008 1:18 PM

That building is saying "I will crush you, little skyscrapers next to me. I will dominate you, I will make you bow down before me."

Posted by PopTart | April 11, 2008 1:19 PM

I look forward to seeing more renderings of the new buildings!

Posted by DOD | April 11, 2008 1:23 PM

@5, Great point. I gave up shopping at Nordstom then and have never made a purchase there since.

Posted by inkweary | April 11, 2008 1:45 PM

I'm looking forward to the eventual conversion of then entire line of light rail stations into upsized TOD developments.

Gold LEED - nice.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 11, 2008 1:56 PM

right fucking on for seattle. norman foster's anonymous minions do good work.

Posted by max solomon | April 11, 2008 2:30 PM

Not that I was a fan of re-opening Pine St., but Westlake Plaza was a big gray turd even before that.

Posted by Joe M | April 11, 2008 2:38 PM

@5, great point. Just to pile on, let's also not forget that this vote was used as the rationale for taxpayers taking out a $73 million loan for the Nordstrom Garage (which, needless to say, wasn't exactly something City Hall broadcast to voters before the election).

To be fair, though, as I understand it, the initial decision to make Westlake an upscale mall rather than a downtown open space was actually made during the Royer Administration.

Posted by Mr. X | April 11, 2008 3:04 PM

Joe M. is correct. Westlake was always a turd, at least after they tore down the interesting buildings there to build the mall. The "plaza" was a bit of a joke even on a good day.

Posted by Fnarf | April 11, 2008 3:44 PM

Not impressed. It looks like the horribly out-of-place Benaroya buildings (Met Park East, West, etc.).

Posted by Ryan | April 11, 2008 4:14 PM

Norman Foster is the godhead.

Doesn't his building in Vancouver count as a tower? Kinda sorta?

I kissed a boy in 30 St. Mary Axe.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | April 11, 2008 5:44 PM

The proposed building (as seen in this pic) is bland. I hope the design changes. ...Pedestrian malls lead to blight. I've lived in cities that installed them, only to watch all of the retail stores and small businesses flee to the suburbs. Those cities have since re-opened the streets, and life is returning.

Posted by Fitz | April 11, 2008 6:13 PM

Looks like the Citigroup Center mated with a shampoo bottle. Can't we do better?

Posted by fred | April 11, 2008 7:08 PM

That better not be what the building looks like because thats FUGLY!!

Posted by Samantha | April 11, 2008 10:35 PM

Charles: Can you get a wider angle image? Very familiar with the magic that Foster has performed in Europe. Context is so crucial -- and is so often overlooked by Americans interested only in the flashy covershot. While perhaps not the most elegant nod to Smith Tower, do we really want something that would steal any of that beauty's thunder? Unlike the typical "starchitect" creation, this building isn't all "look at me, me, me". It respects our past and our future (LEED Gold - WOW) and plays well with others. And isn't that so very Seattle. Bravo Lord Foster!

Posted by Design Nerd | April 12, 2008 1:56 AM

I am pretty sure they are actually going for LEED Platinum.

The tower looks pretty darn meh for now, but I love the idea for the plaza. The green aspect is awesome.

Posted by Cale | April 12, 2008 9:34 AM

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