The success of Seattle’s economic boom has placed added pressures on Seattle’s downtown and waterfront. The once vacant parking lots, and open spaces are increasingly being (re)-developed, while older structures are being rehabilitated. The debate associated with the re-design of Highway 99 (which separates the downtown from the waterfront and its piers), presented an opportunity to propose new ways in which the waterfront and city center (centered around Pike’s Place) could be re-developed so as to build upon the very special qualities of this city, its history and its spectacular landscape features.
What is unique to the area around Pike’s Place, are the network of walkways, stairs, bridges, and retaining walls required to inhabit and navigate the hillside. These physical systems as well as Seattle’s historic development patterns were documented and extensively mapped. Based on the information distilled from these maps, design decisions were projected through computer simulations demonstrating Seattle’s potential for future transformation. Building typologies, which combined elements already found in the area (piers, stairs, towers, bridges etc.) were combined in unique configurations, as required to accommodate site conditions or program requirements.