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Seattle Art Museum: Olympic Sculpture Park

A continuous constructed landscape for art, the uninterrupted Z-shaped "green" platform rises over the existing infrastructure to reconnect the urban core to the revitalized Seattle waterfront. 

Envisioned as a new model for an urban sculpture park, the Olympic Sculpture Park is located on an industrial site at the water's edge. A continuous constructed landscape for art, the uninterrupted Z-shaped "green" platform rises over the existing infrastructure to reconnect the urban core to the revitalized Seattle waterfront. Descending 40 feet from the city to the water, the sculpture park capitalizes on views of the skyline and Elliot Bay. 

An 18,000-square-foot exhibition pavilion provides space for art, performances, and educational programming. From this pavilion, the pedestrian route descends to the water, linking three new archetypal landscapes of the northwest: a dense temperate evergreen forest, a deciduous forest, and a shoreline garden.  

Winner of an international design competition, the design of the Olympic Sculpture Park not only moves sculpture to outside of the museum walls but brings the park itself into the landscape of the city. 

Three former industrial sites, located between downtown Seattle and the waters of Elliot Bay, were separated by roadways and rail lines.

The original concept sketch (above).

The constructed landforms, linked by two bridges, form a continous topography that descends 40 feet from the city to the newly created beach. 

The shifting planes of the site design establish distinct precincts that create topographically varied settings for art. 

Alexander Calder's Eagle servers as the visual icon for the park and is perched over Elliott Avenue and seen in silhouette against the horizon.

Seattle former industrial landscape (above). 

Each layer of the park meets different demands: art, landscape, and infrastructure are superimposed over remediation systems, drainage collection, and existing transportation routes. 

Richard Serra's Wake is sited amongst terraced zones for smaller sculptural works. A sequence of design adjustments were made to clarify the geometry of the valley precinct relative to the final placement of the piece. 

In the evening, the pavilion becomes a luminous presence within the park and the city, providing a terminus to the runway of lights that dot the pedestrian path.

The pavilion contains a cafe; a multipurpose space for performance, lectures, events, and exhibition; offices; and a parking garage on the lower level. 

The 2,200-foot-long pedestrian route begins at the 12,000-square-foot multi-use pavilion from which visitors traverse the site on a pathway that establishes topographic variations and open up radically different prospects.

The chameleon-like section reveals its multiple roles: to elevate the pavilion, cross a highway, bridge over train tracks, and reshape the waterfront.

Throughout the park, landforms and plantings collaborate to direct, collect, and cleanse stormwater as it moves through the site before being released into the bay.

The newly designed beach encourages biodiversity on a site previously damaged by petrochemical waste. The new shoreline is designed with aquatic terraces that form a subtidal safe haven for a juvenile salmon marine habitat. 

The design strategy, a Z-shaped landform, connects the three former industrial sites and unfolds from the city to the water's edge. 

A sloping, stepped terrace at the back of the museum offers as a multifunctional space for recreation, leisure, and performance. 

"Record's Top 125 Buildings" Architectural Record
Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize, Finalist IIT College of Architecture
ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award, Finalist Urban Land Institute
Nature Category World Architecture Festival
EDRA/Places Awards 2008 Environmental Design Research Association
American Architecture Award Chicago Athenaeum and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies
Design Awards 2008: Best Cultural Space Travel + Leisure
Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design Harvard University Graduate School of Design
AIA Honor Award for Architecture AIA National
ASLA Honor Award American Society of Landscape Architects
AIA Excellence in Design Award AIA New York State
AIA Honor Award AIA New York Chapter
AIA Honor Award AIA Seattle Chapter
International Urban Landscape Award, Finalist Topos, A&W, Eurohypo
Museum of Modern Art Groundswell Exhibition Museum of Modern Art, Curated by Peter Reed
Progressive Architecture Award Architect Magazine
Olympic Sculpture Park Limited international competition, Winner Seattle Art Museum and National Endowment for the Arts
Collage And Architecture Routledge
Olympic Sculpture Park L'Arca International 116
Art Parks: A Tour of America's Sculpture Parks and Gardens Leisure Parks
Biotic Rooftops for Ecological Urban Architecture Ecological Urban Architecture: Qualitative Approaches to Sustainability
International Water Landscape
36 Hours USA & Canada West Coast The New York Times
Olympic Sculpture Park Landscape Architecture Now!
Atlas of World Parks and Plazas Liaoning Science and Technology Publishing House, China
The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture Travel Edition Phaidon Press
New Public Works Infrastructural Urbanism: A New Approach to Design
Olympic Sculpture Park Groundwork: Between Landscape and Architecture
Between Geology and Politics Landform Building: Architecture's New Terrain
The Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure Nai Publishers
Olympic Sculpture Park International New Landscape China
Olympic Sculpture Park C3 Magazine
City Parks: Super Ramp Done Righ dwell
Landscape architecture and urban development Architektura Murator
Olympic Sculpture Park View de Villes
Nature: Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum, USA hinge, Vol. 163
GREEN Architecture Now! Taschen Publishing
Olympic Sculpture Park Architectural Journal
Olympic Sculpture Park Lotus International: Through the Sieve
Best Cultural Space: Olympic Sculpture Park Travel + Leisure
The Olympic Sculpture Park Domus Russia
Art in the Park Architectural Review
The Olympic Sculpture Park Detail
Contemporary Landscape Architecture Daab Publishing
Olympic Sculpture Park ELA, Issue 247
New Urban Landscapes The Public Chance
Materials for Sustainable Sites John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Beaches Frame Books
Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture Phaidon Press
1000x Landscape Architecture Braun
I.D. Annual Design Review 2008 Environments I.D. Magazine
Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum GA Document, Issue 102
Selected Projects: Issues 51-61 Best of Topos
Olympic Sculpture Park Civil Engineering Magazine
Olympic Sculpture Park Edbaat
Green Metaphor Lotus International
Design Metropolis Magazine
Weiss/Manfredi Weaves the Olympic Sculpture Park and Its Mix of Art and Design into the Urban Fabric of Seattle Architectural Record
Olympic Sculpture Park Domus
Pursuing Landscape: Recent Work Space
Weiss/Manfredi Weaves The Olympic Sculpture Park And Its Mix Of Art And Design Into The Urban Fabric Of Seattle Architectural Record
A Difficult Site... Icon
From Toxic Wasteland To Public Garden With View The Wall Street Journal
Art Garden Sculpts Seattle Waterfront USA Today
Where Money's No Object, Space Is No Problem The New York Times
Creating The Sculpture Park Required 'An Immense Effort To Look Effortless' Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce
Olympic Sculpture Park for the Seattle Art Museum Harvard Graduate School of Design
Ten Best Architectural Marvels Time Magazine
The Olympic Sculpture Park C3 Korea
Olympic Sculpture Park a+t
Une Oasis Urbaine Techniques and Architecture
Icons And Monuments Sculpture, Vol. 26
Un Ponte Sul Passato Costruire, N. 293
Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, Washington Urban Space Design, 20
International Urban Landscape Award 2007 Topos, Issue 60
Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle Topos, Issue 59
Constructed Living Systems Birkhauser
Olympic Sculpture Park Landscape World
Walk on the Wild Side Time Magazine
Seattle Unveils its Sculpture Park Land & People
Take Back The Site Artforum
Beyond Transparency The Architect's Newspaper
Sculpture Park Hailed As Beautiful Future For Site Once Polluted, Neglected Seattle Times
Seattle Waterfront Brownfield Converted Into Outdoor Sculpture Park Civil Engineering Magazine
The Good Life: New Public Spaces For Recreation Van Alen Institute
Survey Says The Architect's Newspaper
Landforms And Architecture Architectural Record
Look, Landscape! The Architect's Newspaper
The Aesthetics Of Urban Renewals Slate Magazine
From Ruin And Artifice, Landscapes Reborn The New York Times
Groundswell: Constructing The Contemporary Landscape Museum of Modern Art
Arts Funding Fuels A Dynamic Society Los Angeles Times
Best Of Seattle 2002 Seattle Times
Greening The Emerald City I.D. Magazine
Olympic Sculpture Park: Weiss/Manfredi Architects Praxis, Issue 4
Weiss/Manfredi Architects: Greentree Foundation Center For Peace And The Seattle Olympic Sculpture Park Architecture Magazine
Zig Zag, Art On A Green Carpet: A Sculpture Park To Unfold On The Seattle Waterfront Landscape Architecture
Weiss/Manfredi Develops Plans For Seattle Sculpture Park Architectural Record
Get Going On Sculpture Park Seattle Post-Intelligence
Olympic Sculpture Park Zoo Magazine
Design Competitions The Mayors' Institute: Excellence in City Design Publication
Olympic Sculpture Park Van Alen Report