Envisioned as a new urban model for sculpture parks, the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park is located on the city’s last undeveloped waterfront property—a nine-acre industrial site sliced by train tracks and an arterial road. New York–based architecture, landscape, and urban design firm Weiss/Manfredi has created a continuous constructed landscape for art that rises over the existing infrastructure to reconnect Seattle’s urban core to the revitalized waterfront. The park not only brings art outside the museum walls but also brings the park itself into the landscape of the city. This study offers an opportunity to take a fresh look at the city and explore some hypotheses about the wider meaning of an urban design project.
Joan Busquets is Martin Bucksbaum Professor in Practice of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.