RAINFLY – A submission to Urban Intervention, the Howard S. Wright design ideas competition for public space

Location Seattle, Washington
Design Principal Kirsten R. Murray

Urban Intervention is a design ideas competition that invites designers to conceive a fresh vision of environmental, social, and economic opportunities on and beyond a 9-acre site at the heart of Seattle Center. The competition sought design ideas that harness Seattle’s history of innovation and civic engagement to inspire the next generation of great public spaces and connect interaction and innovation to meet the challenges of the future. The competition attracted over 100 entries from 24 countries, and included an impressively wide range of ideas and solutions.

Olson Kundig created this proposal with the participation of the entire staff in a series of design charettes. It was created under the umbrella of [storefront] Olson Kundig, an experimental work place for Olson Kundig’s community collaborations, pro-bono design work, philanthropic and volunteer work, and for design research and the development of design ideas.

Design Summary:
Rainfly will be the largest continuous green space in downtown Seattle. It will be an accessible open space for informal and unscheduled play and exercise that adapts back and forth as Seattle’s festival, performance and sporting event epicenter. Adaptable shelter systems will adjust to weather needs, while moveable kiosks will contribute to activating urban edges and fostering a vibrant street life.

With the removal of existing and obstructing walls it will renew the cultural campus by reintroducing the urban grid, connecting to the energies of The Center and the surrounding City—creating a Center Commons for both residents and visitors.

It will introduce a model of the global regenerative future. Advancing environmental design will be used to rethink waste as resource. Rainwater will have an artistic urban watershed that is as beautiful as a natural watershed filtering its own waste, hydrating life and creating energy.

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