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November 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Rain walks, terraces and containers: Readers share ideas for new waterfront park

A couple of months ago we published a Pacific magazine story about the vision for Seattle’s waterfront after the Alaskan Way viaduct is removed and the tunnel to replace it is completed.

We then asked readers to submit their own ideas for what kind of features the area should have. We got a few cool submissions – and thanks much for sending these in!:

RAINBOX: Seattle’s first and only rain park
Submitted by Andres Villaveces of Metrica Architects

“Rain was falling more or less every day.” — Arthur Denny, 1851.

Seattle has a unique relationship with weather. It rains a lot, and everyone knows it. For centuries, the weather determined a culture of summertime gathering and wintertime contemplation for most Native Americans that populated the Pacific Northwest; it proved fundamental to the narrative mythology of the Chehalis tribe, it provided storytelling insipration for the Hoh and Quileute peoples of the Olympic Peninsula and was the backdrop for the city´s foundation during the time of the pioneers – “the foundation of Seattle was laid in mother´s tears. Rain and tears.”

Today, Seattle could announce the creation of Rainbox: Seattle´s first and only rain park — a park that is designed to be visited when it’s raining.

Rainbox would be located in Piers 62 & 63, next to the aquarium, the Great Wheel and a short walk from Pike Place Market. A roof made of hexagonal cells covers the park. The honeycomb structure is the most efficient way to divide a surface into regions of equal area with the least total perimeter – it provides the greatest transparency. The roof is punctured strategically to allow the controlled passage of rain to the park below, creating dry spaces for public use.

Open space & multimodal transportation west of Pike Place
Submitted by Barbara Simpson

Basically, instead of a new section of viaduct structure and buildings west of Pike Place Market, I envision open space and a multimodal station including streetcar, commuter rail and transit. Instead of cars in the Battery Street tunnel there would be streetcars and transit. Traffic from Western and Elliot would remain as is, i.e. connecting to the waterfront at the Sculpture Park instead of on a new viaduct structure.

The Container Garden: Think inside the box
Submitted by Lisa M. Bauer of Chartreuse Landscape Design

In landscape design, container gardening is used as an important, high-impact focal point or jewel in the landscape. The Container Garden encompasses sustainability, nature, learning, global reach and beauty.

This park utilizes shipping containers to create the walls, garden beds and fountain inside. From outside it resembles an oversized bright-red planting container. Northwest native plants line the gardens’ exterior. By contrast, the inside is mostly green bursting with a lush collection of plants from the far reaches of the planet. Visitors will linger as they learn the botanical names of familiar plants, their uses and place of origin. Art from recycled electronics and imported everyday items are transformed into focal points with statistics on trade through our region. This will be a place to linger, relax and recharge from the busy urban waterfront. The Container Garden reflects Seattle as a global city, known for its sustainability, highly educated workforce and abundance brought about through trade.

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