Park Place

The building across University Street from my office's building is called Park Place.

It's not an ugly building but until recently it was invisible, perhaps because it lacked approaches designed to actually take you there. University Street functions as an on-ramp to I-5; the sidewalks funnel pedestrians away from the highway and west, down the hill in the direction of the waterfront, or else north, past my building, to the retail area.

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But some clever architect(s) or designer(s) have given the building, and the whole block, character, through a redesign of what had been Park Place's throwaway entry area.

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One of these pictures is of a workman finishing the installation of metal type to make sure you're struck with the name of the place (not sure I could put a name to the building before). Above the letters you can see a screen mesh, which somehow, by covering the space between the columns, accentuates the height of the columns. From inside, the mesh gives volume to the space, making it atrium-like, but still transitional - between outdoors and inside.

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In the gray, drizzly winter afternoons of Seattle, it's hard to get a picture that captures how well the re-design draws the eye through a play with materials and texture. But in the early evening, the space show off for pictures. Chandeliers glow from the box and warm the whole street. Really nice work. They may need to put a chair or two in there.

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