Tag Archive for 'streetscape'

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.


Sheraton streetscape makeover

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports on a revamp of one of the most bland and uninspired streetscapes in the city:

The Sheraton Seattle will spend $2 million to build a landscaped pedestrian walkway at its downtown hotel location.

Sheraton officials said the “Garden Walk” will be built along Seventh Avenue and will include vine-covered walls, large mirrors, water features and sculptures. Construction will begin Aug. 14 and is expected to be completed by spring 2011.

The building currently affronts the street with a block-long white wall, so this revitalized streetscape sounds like a big improvement. SeattleScape has some cynicism, however, about the sustainability of this garden walk.

Again, actual street-level tenant space, with doors and windows, could last the lifetime of the building with a changing array of establishments naturally responding to their street-level location with appropriate displays and accessibility. Yet the placement of mirrors seems so impermanent. Does the Sheraton Hotel management really intend to maintain and likely replace those mirrors essentially ad perptuum?

Even if the answer is no, doing something to upgrade the streetscape is better than nothing.