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March 2012

CityLink Seattle

Urban Intervention Finalists Announced

Have you ever dreamed of an idea for your city that is big and bold and audacious? In the spirit of the 1962 World’s Fair, Seattle Center and AIA Seattle invited multidisciplinary design teams to compete in an international design ideas competition to re‐envision a nine‐acre site in the heart of Seattle Center and use it to explore innovation in public space in the coming century.

Urban Intervention: The Howard S. Wright Design Ideas Competition for Public Space convened a jury of internationally recognized design and local civic leaders to consider over one hundred design ideas submitted from around the world. Of the 107 ideas from 24 countries entered in the competition, three were selected as finalists and seven were selected to receive commendations.

In 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair reached into the future to imagine a region of innovation. It offered a vision of progress led by the limitless possibilities of science and technology. The Fair had a profound impact on Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, helping shape the focus on invention and opportunity that moved the region onto the world stage. The Fair’s legacy was a 74‐acre cultural campus and urban park, Seattle Center, which continues to serve the region 50 years later. Similarly, we hold great ambition for the work of the finalist teams identified by the jury for their unique and innovative visions. The three finalists are:                 

ABF (France) for their design, In‐Closure. The design envisions an interactive wall around a forested landscape that is both flexible and dynamic, embracing social life in the city at multiple scales.

KoningEizenberg Architecture + ARUP (United States) for their design, Park. The design organizes the disparate elements of the Seattle Center site and program into a sustainable and coherent landscape. It offers a mastery of the immediate and physical and programmatic challenges facing Seattle Center.

PRAUD (United States) for their design, Seattle Jelly Bean. The design is highly imaginative, and suggests a new kind of icon for the 21st century, an atmospheric and interactive cloud that is tethered both literally and figuratively to the site below.

The finalists will visit Seattle in April to further develop their ideas informed by a series of public engagement activities and will make a final presentation on May 11, 2012, 6:30pm, at Intiman Playhouse.

Project images, project teams, and more can be found on the Online Gallery at

 Seven ideas received commendations from the jury, and teams that conceived them will each receive $1,000 in recognition for their ideas. Commendations went to:                      

A Convertible Public Space by Nicolas Laisne (France).

 Flipped Park by Julien Combes Architecture (France).

Living Laboratory by SABArchitects (United States).

Seattle Center HUB (Hybrid Urban Bioscape) by Influx Studio (France).

STEM by ELLUMUS (United States).

The New Playfield by One Design (China).

URBflow by AMa (Mexico).

The six‐member jury included August de los Reyes, designer, writer, and educator (Palo Alto, CA); Gene Duvernoy, president of Forterra, formerly Cascade Land Conservancy (Seattle, WA); Tom Leader, principal of award winning landscape architecture firm Tom Leader Studio (Berkeley, CA); Mia Lehrer, founder of landscape architecture firm Mia Lehrer+Associates (Los Angeles, CA); Rick Lowe, celebrated public artist (Houston, TX); and Patricia Patkau, founding partner in the firm of Patkau Architects (Vancouver, B.C., Canada).

About The Design Competition:  URBAN INTERVENTION 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. Design ideas are meant to 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 is sponsored by AIA Seattle, Seattle Center and Seattle Center Foundation/ The Next Fifty, and funded by the Grousemont Foundation. It honors long‐term civic leader Howard S. Wright, who took a simple sketch on a napkin and created a landmark building known around the world, the icon of Seattle, the Space Needle.

 About the Seattle Chapter of the American Institute of Architects:  Founded in 1894, AIA Seattle is a not‐for‐profit professional association of architects, allied professionals, and laypeople. AIA Seattle provides the architecture community with resources and relationships to make a difference through design. We open doors, provide connections, keep our members and the public informed, and demonstrate our commitment to great design as the key ingredient for livable, sustainable places.

 About The Next Fifty at Seattle Center:  Urban Intervention is part of The Next Fifty, celebrating of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition. The celebration offers six months of activities, exhibits and events, April 21 – October 21 at Seattle Center that will once again place the Pacific Northwest in the global spotlight.

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