Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Urban Plaza's in Big Development

Wider sidewalks, plaza's and parks... things vital to realize a true pedestrian friendly city. In an effort to maximize return on investment big development unfortunately does not usually include these things. The United States Courthouse in Seattle is a prime example of successful incorporation of public space into a large scale block development. Not to mention a fantastic building. For sure, the design and style of the plaza fits the business of the building, that being a place to uphold the law. And much like the building, the plaza makes use of beautiful materials and design that then balance themselves nicely with the function of the space. The architect was NBBJ and the engineer was MKA, two huge international firms based out of Seattle.

As one makes their way around the south and west sides of the building, they'll be welcomed with continuous steps that turn 90 degrees to parallel both blocks. The steps flow into the natural slope of the western block, growing in number as the grade lowers to the northern side of the block. As you near the entry to the building the steps continue into a water feature and become part of the design of the plaza, thereby meshing function into form.

This shot back towards the entry looks through the iron fist of the law sculpture. Don't mess with the law, but have a seat in our lovely plaza and ponder your freedom. Just be sure to mind the hidden cameras!