ARCH 456: Maritime Research and Outreach Center

For fourth year studio we were prompted to make a maritime institute on Pier 63 in Seattle, Washington. The specifics of the program were left up to the individual student. I was heavily influenced by the fairly recent decision to take down the Alaska Highway (an elevated highway) that had been separating downtown Seattle form its waterfront. I was also influenced by James Corner’s proposal for the renovation of the site the highway occupied. The most influential part of James Corner’s proposal was the result of his open poll to Seattle citizens that queried what their desires for their waterfront were. The results were that Seattle citizens wanted to be able to physically access the water, and be able to engage in leisurely activities at the waterfront.

The program that I developed was an effort to reinforce the desire to connect to the water. I felt that an Environmental Research Facility coupled with a Public Outreach Center as well as an Education Facility would provide the people with a deeper connection to the sound than physical access alone. In order to give Seattle its access to the water I was able to take the unused portion of the pier and allow it to decend slowly into the water. This move would allow swimming, canoe launch access, fishing, and any other possible physical access to the Sound.

The goal of the program was that the Research Center would perform research on various kinds of ecological conditions in and around the sound. This information would then be given to the Outreach Center and Education Facility. The Outreach Center would take the dry figures of the research, put them in terms that the general populous could relate to and graphically display this information throughout the Center. The visiting public could then view the things that are happening within its Bay.The Outreach Center also houses a small interactive learning center, as well as a library specializing in enviornmental information and maritime themed books and documents. The Outreach Center would also be a place to gather and eat. The Education Center would be open to hold courses that would vary from basic public courses to advanced courses for local and visiting scientists.