Sheraton Garden Walk complete

Sheraton Garden Walk

Sheraton Garden Walk at 7th and Union

The wall of the Sheraton Hotel used to impose one of the most monolithic streetscapes in the city on downtown pedestrians along 7th Avenue. However, over the past several months, a more interesting and engaging facade has been constructed. The project cost $2 million and, while it doesn’t turn 7th Ave into a lively shop-lined street, it still provides a significant enhancement to a dead zone within downtown. The Daily Journal of Commerce has a writeup on the Sheraton Garden Walk.

[T]he recently completed streetscape is designed to complement the urban fabric, while also amplifying its connections to its unique surroundings in a way that is playful and engaging.

[Landscape Architects, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol]’s design “borrows” key pedestrian assets from across the street and playfully simulates a traditionally two-sided street. A series of massive mirror panels — emulating vertical architectural bays in scale and proportion — are strategically placed to present the illusion of rich historic facades on the face of the simple concrete wall.

The mirrors reflect the historic facade of the Eagles Auditorium Building across the street, thereby replacing the blank wall of the Sheraton with the illusion of a much grander sense of architecture. The width of the mirror panels subtly offers the familiar module of storefront windows to passing pedestrians. The mirrors also “double” the apparent pedestrian activity on the treated side of the street.

The intent of the Sheraton Garden Walk is to create the illusion of being surrounded by green without truly enclosing the space — transitioning from a typical city sidewalk to a more welcoming, garden-scale environment that emphasizes “people space” over “car space.”

In order to balance the mirrors with reality, they are framed by rustic texture and seasonal interest, provided by vines that will soon grow to clad the remaining concrete facade. As they grow in, the lush plantings will wrap and embrace the sidewalk environment for maximum effect.


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