Monday, August 6, 2007

SAM--Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park

This park was very inspirational as a student of Landscape Architecture. It is brand-new and it feels that way. As a student I get an immediate comprehension of the rhythm and sequence of the spaces. It is still severe in places, and that will change as the plant material matures. Headed towards the beach

This little guy had wrecked his scooter going down the gravel paths. His mother was at the bottom. It was not the first time he had wrecked by the looks of his knees. He got back up and headed back down. I think his mother was more concerned about the long term affects of the boys knees as they were being wore off by the gravel. He was having a ball though.

"Eagle" by Alexander Calder

It was 102 degrees in Seattle this day. Unbelievably hot! Joggers, walkers site seers were out in droves.

This really was my favorite part of the park. When I entered, it is just a small little beach, dwarfed by the large expanse of the Sound. It is actually a substantial size beach with room for many to have private play spaces and not overwhelm the feelings of the beach. The Olympic Mountains are in the distance, the Port of Seattle to the left and a group of cottonwood shield the line of site to the right. It is this cottonwood grouping and the Olympic Mountains in the distance that create a sense of wilderness and nature. On this beach, I was no longer in Seattle, but I was in a decade and era that still had wilderness when you walked up to the Sound. Part of this feeling of awe, might be inspired by the very lack of beach access. It is very nicely done, and it has to be a favorite spot of many. If I am back in the winter, I am going to get back to this little spot. I love the Sound and the water with the chill of Winter and all its cool and tempestuous moods.

I appreciate art, I'm not what you would call a connoisseur. Art moves me and I enjoy analyzing the feelings a piece of art invokes. This piece of art, "Wake" by Richard Serra requires that you walk up and touch it, and to my dismay there is a security guard sitting in the shade with signs that say "Do Not Touch " . However, it did strike up a dialogue with the security guard on the iniquities involved in not being able to experience the "Wake" with the sense of touch.

Richard Serra "Vortex" Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

I was first introduced to Serra in Fort Worth. His work is beautiful. His work pulls at your sense of place, almost like gravity with a different down.

The plantings are still very young. It won't be long and they will be a mecca on 102 degree days.

A lesson in staging art.

Simple and powerful

Am I still in Seattle?

It is not just the park, there are outside contextual elements that have a relationship with the park. (whether you want them to or not.)

City and nature, at the large scale. Urban materials and plants at the small scale. This is an eye catching piece full of movement and reflection.

"Please Sir, let me run my hands along these gentle curves." I just wanted to put my face up against this sensual piece.

Curves converted to rhythm and lines.

Truly a beautiful piece of art.

"Split" Roxy Paine
The Landscape Architect plays as much of a role in the expression of this piece as the actual piece. A lesson in collaboration I hope.

Views of pieces are captured throughout the park in staged, and not-so-staged vignettes.

Irrigation problems?

Amphitheater--modern, crisp, simple.
It is a piece of art itself and it is the counter balance or resting place of the "Wake"

Aspen planted rigidly in rows. It will be interesting to see how they maintain this grove. Aspen seem the most unlikely tree to stay rigid and confined.

This is one of the more successful spaces in my view. Simple red chairs that echo the "Eagle" set out in condominium style on the edge of the Sound. This is your opportunity to be a citizen of the Pacific Northwest and take ownership in such a grand place. It is your personal patio.

Art and romance meet.

The size of the park increases the opportunities of activities. The designers took that well into account.

At times you are reminded of the scale of the park.

Joints and connections of all sorts are angular in the park. Rigid and delineated.

Severe Grade changes are part of the experience.

Exhibition of art at every opportunity. I think that is what is so great about art. There is such a wide variety of possible pieces.

Part of the underlying statement, intended or not, is renewal and succession. Rail lines and streets bisect the site. I don't know what it looked like before building but it is not hard to imagine a huge industrial brownfield. Open grassy places such as this are rare in Seattle. I will be interested in following how these spaces evolve and are maintained.

I'm sure I'll be back to visit. It was a pleasure. Thank-you SAM!