Artwork and a pedestrian (and dog) friendly space that creates a “sense of place” will be key components of Amazon.com’s proposed downtown Seattle office project, according to architects who presented their latest drawings at Seattle’s Downtown Design Review Board meeting Tuesday night.
The architects are not yet seeking approval for the massive three tower project that could over 3.3 million square feet in the Denny Triangle neighborhood. And they still have work to do in terms of how the buildings will integrate with the city’s skyline.
But Tuesday night’s presentation laid the ground work for how the architects see the project blending with the street life of downtown Seattle.
“It is a great opportunity to be able to design three blocks at one time,” said landscape architect Mark Brands. “And how can we create a series of spaces that have distinct character and a variety of uses, but also stitch them together into the landscape.” In the end, Brands said that they’d like a project that creates a balance between diversity and continuity across the three city blocks.
“We like the idea of variety, and our client, Amazon, very much likes the idea of variety,” said NBBJ’s Dale Alberda. They want it to feel like a neighborhood, they don’t want it to feel like a corporate campus. Striking that balance is something we are working very hard to achieve.”
Among the ideas presented was a “shared use street” that could accomodate pedestrians and bicyclists, and possibly even food trucks.
An all-weather playfield, possibly to be constructed of synthetic turf, along with a nearby dog park could be community gathering places that encourage people to interact with one another. The Seattle Times, which calls the development the largest ever proposed in downtown Seattle, notes that the project, code-named Rufus 2.0, is named after a former employee’s dog.
“We have this generous opportunity … in the space to really do something more significant here, and really think about it more like a park where you have a variety of uses,” said Brands, noting that it would be terraced in order to create an amphitheater like concept. “You could have large-scale events, community events or Amazon events in this space.”
In order to encourage a more “energized” environment, the architects said that they’ve designed the garage elevators to dump employees into the main park area before they must re-enter the towers. Green streets, complete with seating areas and trees, also are being considered.
A playground and a day care facility are not being considered, but architect John Savo said that the space is very much being designed with families in mind.
“We want to create an active space,” he said.
Artwork certainly could play a part in encouraging families to enjoy the space. And while the architects have not yet engaged specific artists in the community to engage in the project, Savo said that they are open to partnering with the local artistic community. One of the ideas would be to place what Savo described as large pieces in very visible locations in order to draw people toward the building connectors.
Temporary and permanent exhibits could be part of the space, with Savo saying they’d like to explore creative ways to incorporate art into everything from manhole covers to bike racks to trash cans.
Here’s a look at the planning documents that were submitted in advance of Tuesday night’s meeting, which we previously covered on GeekWire earlier today.