Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« For Slog's Only Poetry Fan | An Inconvenient Update »

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Design Meeting for Capitol Hill Sound Transit Station

posted by on April 3 at 17:02 PM

Okay, so I totally forgot to post this earlier and now hardly anyone will see it in time to attend, but here goes anyway. Sound Transit is holding an open house tonight on the progress of the Capitol Hill light rail station (around Broadway E and E John Street).


This image is about a year old. Plans may have changed since then.

They’ll have drawings to ogle and technical staff to answer your questions. The design is supposedly 60 percent completeóbut Iím not sure if that means 60 percent of the design is a done deal and 40 percent of the design is up in the air, if 60 percent of an arbitrary timeline has passed, or something else entirely.

If you want to find out, the event runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with a ďbriefĒ presentation at 6 p.m. Itís at Seattle Central Community College, Room BE-1110 (1701 E Broadway). The room is on the south end of the main building, the Web site says, so we should use door near the Broadway Performance Hall.

Iím gonna check it out. If you go, thatís me in the tunic.

RSS icon Comments


The art is the good part. I already forwarded two articles to a friend of mine who lives one block from the station ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 3, 2008 5:31 PM

Tunic? Link cosplay for Central Link?

Posted by Cow | April 3, 2008 8:53 PM

OK, so I was there. I saw some Stranger-esque looking guy poking around, so Dom, that must have been you. I'll also leave it to you to describe in concept and full detail the big art piece that's proposed (and which I will declare that I myself like) but I will state that the audience mostly DIDN'T FUCKING GET IT and thus proceeded to FREAK THE FUCK OUT. Everyone instantly told themselves that this thing is pro-war, pro-militarism, pro-Bush blah blah... when in fact, the piece challenges war and planes and aggression, and this guy shares the same values and beliefs as our neighborhood. But people just got fixated on those planes and "if this guy was from Seattle he would know better"... I wished that everyone would have lightened up and saw it for what it is: Two fighter planes (one pink and one orange) broke into pieces in swoopy lines and kissing over the train platform.

Sigh. O Seattle.

Posted by MoTown | April 3, 2008 9:10 PM

I was there. I'd say the crowd didn't 'get it' due to his lousy presentation of the idea. The whole 'seattle loves rain and nature' and 'dropping through the clouds' was a really poor lead up to "I'm going to put a couple of fighter jets on the ceiling".

If he would have said. I'm going to make two blue herons, but they're going to be orange and pink, and I'm going to make them out of fighter jets. He might have gotten some more traction.

Also, although you say he shares our values and beliefs is one thing. Him saying it would have been another. He didn't.

He did say salient a lot.

Posted by 8blockwalk | April 3, 2008 9:49 PM

A gun with a daisy stuck in the barrel is still a gun

Of course we got it - but don't like it.

The guy, sir misguided artists, was not from Seattle, likes "potent things" like war machines. No way does art negate the death and killing of the war fighter plane. As we chat people ate dying in ten global war zones(Iraq, Darfur, Palestine, ...etc.) because of fighter jets.

That art will never be put in that station.
How could Sound Transit be so stupid? These publicly funded projects always astound....they have already approved the art 10 years before the project is in service and paid the artist money .... with no real public input. WOW, what a horrible mistake.

War machine images in the peace center of the world. And of course, Sound Transit imported art talent, since no local folks have any art talent...oh sure.

Naked fighter pilots for sure, no fighter planes. None, no war machines as public art, none.

Posted by Xeres | April 3, 2008 9:51 PM

I propose that Sound Transit instead buy me a Hummer H2. I will disassemble it, paint it pink, and hang it from the ceiling. It will symbolize the triumph of transit over gas guzzling, and will be the most productive use of a Hummer as gas hits $4/gallon.

And yes, the guy's presentation was by far the worst part. The fighter jets came as a non-sequitur, and he seemed pretty noncommital about the concept. I would think that nearly everyone in the room (except for the lady angry about the cost of the third entrance) is probably not the militaristic type, but he didn't come out and say it was about destroying an emasculating tools of war (or whatever).

Posted by Andy | April 3, 2008 10:02 PM

Someone please post a picture.

We're raising money from sales tax on poor people to pay for non-"art" in a train station?
Not much art in NY Paris DC Skytrain....they seem to work okay though....

was this the 1% thing -- a quota that we have to spend 1% of the capital cost on art......what, 1% of a $25 million station budget or 1% of the whole shebang between downtown and UW -- say a billion --making the art one million bucks?

Posted by unPC | April 3, 2008 10:16 PM

yes @7 is right-o.

Posted by Phyllis Steen | April 3, 2008 10:18 PM

aww it sounds cool. lord knows capitol hill could use something that actually provokes it.

Posted by Cale | April 3, 2008 10:28 PM

This is a bit of a digression, but I've always wondered: this transit station is going to be underground, isn't it? So, like, why do we need to demolish everything above it?

I can think of a few reasons, but mostly I quite like some of the buildings we're going to lose to this thing (including, I believe, "the last house on Broadway", the building the U Frame It is in), and it just seems odd to me that we have to demolish one and a half square blocks of existing buildings -- but we're leaving the two big parking lots in the vicinity totally untouched.

And what are we putting on the land after the transit station is built?

I dunno.

Posted by Judah | April 3, 2008 11:04 PM

Wow, great comments on the event, everyone. I just got home after a much-needed dinner and drink (I woke up at dawn for that eco-lovin' devlopment thing). I'll post pictures and such in the morning.

Posted by Dominic Holden | April 3, 2008 11:16 PM

The whole presentation was bizarre. An outsider's view of a given location can be a valuable thing, but I think any artist attempting to capture the essence of a place is well served to be suspicious of the cliched view and try to approach it from a rarely-considered angle. I'm not an artist, so maybe this is too simplistic a statement, but my gut reaction was to cringe when I heard the artist say "I googled 'I love Seattle because...' and everyone mentioned rain." Seattle = rain, clouds, nature, technology, how many times have we heard that? I just didn't understand the nexus between these cliched portions of Seattle and swoopy, "enmasculated" (to use the architect's word) fighter jets.

To be fair, in the abstract I thought it was a cool-looking concept. In the right context, I think it could work well. But the alleged grand statement of this piece is out-of-place in a mundane bit of civic architecture that most people will use everyday. Not to mention a total extravagance in a vital element to the city that is required to do two things well--transport people to other parts along the line and support a healthy street presence.

After the meeting, I came to the conclusion that it would be better to forego any grand artistic statement at this station at all. Again, I'm not an artist, just a daily transit patron. But I thought the real star of the presentation was the massive horizontal braces and the expansive view descending into the mezzanine level. I'm naturally attracted to "form follows function" simplicity. I don't think the visual impact of the steel braces needs to be mitigated. The vision of the uniformly spaced, cleanly-lighted horizontal columns necessary to hold the earth at bay would communicate a more powerful message than any grand artistic installation, and it would have the added bonus of being integral to the station's design.

Posted by Gary | April 3, 2008 11:29 PM

Alright, for those not there, who's the artist?

Posted by Garth | April 3, 2008 11:36 PM
Posted by Gary | April 3, 2008 11:50 PM

I've uploaded pictures and put down my impressions on 8 BLOCK WALK

Posted by 8blockwalk | April 3, 2008 11:51 PM

God forbid anyone do something big and thought provoking or The Stranger bother to show up for a packed public meeting discussing what will be one of the most catalystic changes - with or without the current art concept - to happen on Cap Hill in decades.

For the record, a group of folks that included many in the Cap Hill "art community" selected Ross out of 120 applicants from a national call for artists to be part of the design team for the station. The group also selected local artist Ellen Forney to add an artistic element to the tunnel that will run from SCCC to the station.

This was the first time Rosss' concept has been talked about in such an open, public setting. From here the hand wringing begins in earnest. It's called a "public process" -one that I would rather saw my arm off with a rusty file than be a part of if I were the artist.

Taking a shell of fighter jets, chopping them up, painting them pink and orange and rearranging them to look like two birds kissing sure doesn't get my antiwar hackles up. Seems like it's repurposing something awful into something that parodies its original purpose.

And by the way, the buildings are coming down because you have to dig a hole to build a 400' long underground station. That's also where the tunnel mining machines will start from as they dig the tunnels between Broadway and downtown.

Posted by Gern Blanston | April 4, 2008 12:11 AM

I really liked the artist's concept and I hope he gets to build it. It's extremely thought-provoking. I think most of the audience members, after their gutteral reactions at the meeting, will come to appreciate the sculpture after they have some time to think about it.

Posted by newsaholic | April 4, 2008 12:30 AM

I mean come on ... the pink and orange jets were literally kissing each other. I loved it!

Posted by newsaholic | April 4, 2008 12:33 AM

Check out the YouTube link from here. Not the greatest impression of what it will look like but it gives you an idea of the station.

Posted by Gern Blanston | April 4, 2008 12:37 AM

Gern - your chosen artist and his concept is horrid.

Beyond belief that a local cabal of artists couldn't see this coming.

Too bad. You like war, go to Iraq. You don't like war, don't put war machines in public spaces as art.

This concept injures the actual use of the space. There will be people in this city who will never enter the space as a form of protest. Putting stuff in the desert to stir and provoke is one thing - pieces of fighter jets in my neighborhood is quite another.

Your artist hasn't a clue - and apparently neither did this so called community committee.

Why poke the Stranger in the eye - not their problem, Sound Transit's problem. The giant dumbo consortia spending many billions of tax payer dollars. And they do account to the funders and riders and neighborhoods of their projects - indeed.

There is plenty of time to start over on the art. In that sense, thanks for the heads up early on, time for major changes.

Posted by Xeres | April 4, 2008 4:32 AM

@10: Judah, I would love to hear your proposal for putting in the underground station without removing the buildings on top first. How do you plan to get all that concrete and steel in there? Magic?

Posted by Greg | April 4, 2008 8:49 AM

I'm of the opinion that NONE of the stations need giant, expensive art installations. Have you seen the "art" pieces at the Tukwilla light rail station? They're ugly as sin, totally out of place, and unforgivably inane. They make the fighter-plane-heron-kissing thing look like a masterpiece in comparison.

Posted by Hernandez | April 4, 2008 8:56 AM

Xeres, hate to let you know, but yours is the kind of narrow-minded reactionary Lesser Seattle attitude I'm glad to see fading away. You probably never ride transit anyway.

Posted by MoTown | April 4, 2008 8:58 AM

heres the news coverage on it.

Posted by steve | April 4, 2008 9:11 AM

here's the news coverage on it.

Posted by steve | April 4, 2008 9:12 AM

@20 - why is it about Iraq? Ever heard of a company called Boeing? One of the historic pillars of our local economy is a company that manufactures war planes. That was my first reaction, anyway.

Posted by Hernandez | April 4, 2008 9:30 AM

Ok, so all of you folks who actually want your art to be a little more provacative - those of you who "got it" - why not stand up and say something? Because the message the artist (and his bosses at ST) heard was that the public hated it. Now we know that that's not necessarily what they believe, but now that's all that's on the public record.

Posted by scharrera | April 4, 2008 9:38 AM

Wow, so they're tearing down the entire block of retail and replacing it with essentially nothing? Why can't they build some ground floor retail/office/residential space instead of just a big roof for the tunnel?

Seems like a pretty damaging blow to the neighborhood for essentially a cleaner version of metro route 49.

Posted by one block away | April 4, 2008 9:41 AM

@ 28

The plan is for ST to build a big station and three entrances to it. The rest of the buildings are TBD. I don't think you'll have to worry about it sitting empty for a second after construction. That is prime real estate, and they're either going to sell it off, or entice developers with long term leasing.

Posted by 8blockwalk | April 4, 2008 9:56 AM

#29: Thanks for the details. I couldn't find any details about what's going above ground. Thanks for the flickr slides though, they were interesting but I couldn't read the text.

Still it's sad that the block is going to be empty until 2016. (unless I'm wrong again?)

Posted by one block away | April 4, 2008 10:05 AM


You should be able to poke the "All Sizes" button and get much larger images on those slides.

2016. Yup. Until then it's going to be a big sight/sound wall (like you see on beacon hill) surrounding the site, with a stream of trucks moving debris out. I'm really not looking forward to that, but it's worth it to get some sane methods of moving people around here.

The northern end of Broadway should liven back up for a while, because the construction projects wont take nearly as long, and all the current empty space can get filled. Remember, the old QFC will be replaced by a monster project, The Brix is going to open at some point, and all the boarded up stuff will get new tenants.

Posted by 8blockwalk | April 4, 2008 10:13 AM
but Iím not sure if that means 60 percent of the design is a done deal and 40 percent of the design is up in the air, if 60 percent of an arbitrary timeline has passed, or something else entirely.

Put simply, 60% is a somewhat arbitrary milestone in the design process. It basically breaks down like this: 30% (schematics, concepts laid out), 60% (developed design, not finalized), 100% (finalized design, construction documents). There's also sometimes a 90% milestone that is sort of a final approval stage. Hope this helps.

Posted by T | April 4, 2008 10:24 AM

Xeres @ 5 and 20: you belong in the the doctrinaire Bible Belt, not on Capitol Hill. Your sense of humor and brand of liberal "tolerance" matches that of the Church Lady.

The only thing worse than the crazies and perma-complainers who gravitate to stupid non-issues like this one: even more-clueless local news outlets which cover them....

War plane art sparks transit station controversy

Posted by Wally | April 4, 2008 10:30 AM

Reply to #23 -Bah to the poster who thinks being anti militaristic is "old Seattle" - I hope you avoid the draft that is coming if things don't change. The US Army is in almost collapse, draft is coming if Mc Cain is elected, he want more war.

As to who uses public transportation, I live and work on C. Hill and don't know any one who owns a car. We all walk, take the bus, beg a ride one a month, and used to get Flex cars.

And how about you get a clue. I hate the art concept, love mass transit, cried for weeks when the mono collapsed. And, honey, Lesser Seattle was always a spoof and that back about 30 years ago. How quaint you should use the term.

Personally I love the new Seattle that is emerging.

No Fighter Jets as public art on Sound Transit - take it to a gallery and sell it to warmongers with money and no taste or morals.

Posted by Xeres | April 4, 2008 10:33 AM

#7, your math and premise are both WAY OFF. 1% of a billion is 10 million.

See? If you liked and appreciated art more, whatever the form, maybe you would have gotten your math lessons better (tons of studies show...).

A world without art, passion and creativity is a miserable, money-oriented place. I do agree that poor-people shouldn't be taxed ;-)

Posted by X-man | April 4, 2008 10:34 AM

No, scharrera, the nuts who beg for change outside Punk Rok High (SCCC) hated the art. Irony shot right over their little heds.

"I'm of the opinion that NONE of the stations need giant, expensive art installations. Have you seen the "art" pieces at the Tukwilla light rail station? They're ugly as sin, totally out of place, and unforgivably inane."

Hernandez: you always find new and exciting ways to spread disinformation whenever the subject of light rail arises. I walked around the Tukwila light rail station last week: no "giant expensive art installations" What do yo prefer to art? Unpainted cement?

Posted by Wally | April 4, 2008 10:44 AM

On Xeres : Isn't it interesting how quickly old lefties turn fascist?

Posted by dr. thompkins | April 4, 2008 10:54 AM

#37 - Isn't it interesting how someone on the Blogs, in almost any discussion, jumps at the chance to use the term fascist - out of context - and usually because quite simply there are two points of view.

#37 - the term is about the most evil thing you can say. Please save it for an appropriate use. Or, maybe read some modern history so you can define fascism properly and not make its use so trivial.

People who have a view differing from yours are not fascist. Really. Ask mommy.

Posted by Angel | April 4, 2008 11:41 AM

Hmmm....oppressive, dictatorial control... sounds like Xeres comments match up.

Mommy agrees...

Posted by dr. thompkins | April 4, 2008 1:38 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).