American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2005 Professional Awards
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A view looking south through the Kreielsheimer Promenade during an event intermission where the night environment is celebrated with a choreographed light performance (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).

Graphic Site Plan illustrating the north-south connections from street corridor to the campus interior, and the east-west continuity of the ground plane from the exterior Promenade into the interior lobby (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
Stone Layout Plan for the Promenade illustrating the precise alignments that create a seamless floor plane between the interior and exterior (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
A view through Promenade looking south as the Japanese maples and Katsura trees change to their autumn color and provide a dramatic background to the perspective of the corridor (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
A view through Promenade looking towards the plaza entry as pedestrians travel through the space during a summer event weekend (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
A view through Promenade looking towards the plaza entry as pedestrians travel through the space during a summer event weekend (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
Water gently flowing around the bare feet of a pedestrian finding comfort in the warm weather as she strolls through the open space (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).

The Kreielsheimer Promenade at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle, WA

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Seattle, WA

Creative Collaborators: Leni Schwendinger of Light Projects LTD, and LMN Architects.

"Enchanting . . . It transforms the experience . . .simply beautiful . . . the awards entry showed how it looks with no one there, then how it is used by people . . .treats water differently than any project in memory . . . gets us to the point where we’re attending to where we are."

— 2005 Professional Awards Jury Comments

The Kreielsheimer Promenade is a dramatic and unique meeting place for opera patrons and visitors to McCaw Hall. It is also a bright, dynamic, and welcoming public passage for the city into the heart of the Seattle Center Campus. An extraordinary collaboration between disciplines can be seen in the landscape’s elegant integration of architecture, landscape, lighting, and theater. The Promenade is a subtly undulating, brightly lit open space between McCaw Hall and the neighboring Phelps Center building, extending from Mercer Street at its north end to the lawn of the International Fountain at its south end. The Promenade is approximately 19,000 square feet, and is one of a series of pedestrian corridors that accommodate hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Seattle Center annually. Though it is not apparent from looking at the finished landscape, a significant portion of the Promenade is a rooftop plaza, built over mechanical rooms below. The Promenade begins as a simple, urban, paved space at the Mercer Street entry to McCaw Hall. Views of the Promenade’s shimmering green stone, crisp and sparkling sheets of water, and cool-hued plantings support the architecture and diffused light that define this grand entry to McCaw Hall. The subtly warped planes of paving appear to be an extension through glass of the Hall’s interior lobby floor. An undulating series of stone benches create meeting spots and refuges in a variety of configurations. These elements combine to mark the building entry and to frame a dramatic perspective toward the bright green spaces at the south end of the space.

A glowing “ceiling” is implied in the Promenade by a series of translucent metal scrims floating overhead. The quality of light within the Promenade exhibits the regular flux of the Pacific Northwest skies that changing throughout the day. Then, at night, a choreographed exposition of light allows the public and patrons to experience the theatrical events within the space.

The 2,500 square-foot water feature is designed to reflect the sky, the metal scrims, and the lighting effects at night. Thin sheets of water, only ¼” thick, cover 3 tilted panels of stone paving. Each tilted stone panel is 48 feet long and subtly sloped toward the interior lobby. Water flows into a stainless steel grille in the paving, creating a calming sound within the space. The entire water feature is universally accessible and allows for pedestrians of all ages and abilities to move across the water and interact with the reflected light from the scrims and the sky. A series of stone benches along the west edge of the water feature provides quiet places to rest and “people watch” across the shimmering water as pedestrians move through the interior lobby, walk through the Promenade, and play in the water. The bench articulation is designed to accentuate the crisp geometry of the site at a fine texture in the stone surfaces, as well as deter skateboards from sliding across the edges. The stainless steel grille of the water feature continues for 350 feet, in a sweeping curve that guides pedestrians from Mercer Street to the interior of the Seattle Center Campus. The curve of the grille in the ground plane compliments the building and contrasts with the orthogonal lines of the scrims, benches and paving.

As one walks south along the Promenade, the space transitions from the monumental, urban scale of the Mercer Street entry into a serene and vibrantly planted landscape adjoining the park-like Seattle Center campus. The South Terrace extends the contemporary forms of McCaw Hall into strong, simple landscape features that classically frame “garden views” of the Space Needle and International Fountain. The sunlit elements of the South Terrace are visible from the Promenade as a band of bold green color. A subtly rising plane of lawn, the South Terrace finishes the Promenade with a sunny refuge that faces back into the central Promenade. The South Terrace offers to lift people above the passing crowds, cool them with green and fragrant flowers, and embrace them with a crisp, low enclosure of boxwood hedges. Stone benches are integrated into the hedges to “float” on the boxwood. A 16-foot high wall of fragrant and colorful vines encloses the east side of the Terrace.

The Promenade is planted in a series of nooks, with a palette of traditional Northwest-Asian landscape plants, such as azaleas, Japanese maples, and violets. To complement the soft greens and silvers of the Promenade and building, these plants share cool-green foliage tones and blue flower colors. The blue flowers compliment the reflections of sky from the building and water feature. The South Terrace is planted with strong, bright greens and warm flower colors. A flamboyant mix of orange, magenta, and coral flowers echo the rich, exotic palette inside the performance hall and contrast with the cool blues of the Promenade. A centerpiece of the Terrace is a 16-foot high wall of flowering and fragrant vines. The vines include roses “Climbing America,” “Climbing Westerland,” and “Zephirine Drouhin,” and the tangerine-flowered trumpet vine. The vibrant green lawn and hedges of boxwood and Japanese holly, glowing with inserts of brightly colored plants, provide a combined focal point at the end of the Promenade. A glowing orange insert of “Livin’ Easy” roses punctuates a slot in one hedge of boxwood, and the neon-coral colored twigs of Japanese maple “Sango Kaku” emerge from another.

The landscape and building materials work in harmony to create a magical environment of light during both day and night. The materials selected for the Promenade accentuate the nature of the Northwest environment and provide opportunities to experience the diverse qualities of light in our region. The soft green color of the quartzite stone and the tinted concrete paving create depth to the space in the rain and contrast in the sunlight. The reflective nature of the stone and water sparkle with silvery light during the day and become a canvas for the bold color and light projected on the scrims at night.

The shimmering texture of the quartzite stone bench cap that runs along the lengths of the water panels and the notched articulation that exhibits the character of the stone, expresses the site geometry, and deters skateboards from sliding across the edges (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
Within the Themed Garden, small seating areas give the feeling of being completely secluded from office environment and provide an emersion in nature. Only steps away from the office spaces, the associates can leave the rigors of the daily office routine (photo: Cris Costea).
View across the South Terrace, an accessible ramped plane of green over the utility plant, that provides sheltered seating opportunities in a colorful, vibrant garden adjacent the southern entry to the Promenade (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
The Promenade, looking south, during an event intermission as a woman in evening attire strolls across the panels of water. The site materials become reflective mirrors of vivid color, animating the space and creating exciting volumes of color and light (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
The Promenade, as the same woman has moved further south and becomes a “performer” as she changes color along with all of the site materials in the choreography of moving light (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
The Promenade at night during choreographed light performance as the space transforms to become completely saturated in red, full of contrasts in field of perceived solids and voids (photo: Gareth Loveridge, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd).
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