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From Sea to Sky: 10 Significant Cultural Projects in Seattle and Puget Sound
8-1-2023 | News
By Eric Baldwin
Architecture is rooted in materials, history and people. In the Pacific Northwest, building traditions are so closely tied to place that they have their own distinct features. Dubbed the “Northwest Regional” or “Northwest Modern” style, these structures reflect diverse landscapes and construction techniques across project types. The sum is a body of architecture deeply tied to its context.
Northwest Regional buildings have many defining features. They often include the extensive use of unpainted wood and glass, minimal decoration, site integration through asymmetrical floor plans and low roofs with overhanging eaves. There’s an appreciation for craft and detailing, as well as an understanding of views and scale. Zeroing in on Seattle and Puget Sound, the following projects highlight Northwest Regional design through cultural projects. While they share similar features, they each look to redefine what it means to build an architecture of place today.
Pike Place Market has become a backbone of Seattle’s urban fabric. The design team’s vision was to open the city’s treasured landmark with grand public gathering space framed by a contemporary lightness and transparency. The team found contextual inspiration in the character of Pike Place Market’s simple utilitarian character, as well as in the concrete post and beam structures and heavy timber elements commonly found throughout the existing market.
More than just a public market, this neighborhood turned historic district is home to farmers, craftspeople, small businesses and residents, each an integral part of the area’s history and character. Completed in 2017, Pike Place Marketfront caters to the present, but looks to the future, acting as the gateway from the heart of downtown to the waterfront. Today, the project serves as a critical connection point where the most essential goods and services are available within a 10-minute walk and well-served by transit.