In Seattle this week for a speaking gig, where I always seem to find myself at the Olympic Sculpture Park, quite possibly one of my favorite places on the planet. The team at Weiss/Manfredi designed huge swaths of grass and native plants that bridge a glass box on the hillside with the industrial waterfront, zig zagging over cars, trains, bikes and people, pulling Seattle Art Museum’s annex all the way down to Elliott Bay.
First stop is the cafe where Geoff McFetridge’s In the Mind exhibit is still up, complete with giant pushpins.
Coming down the stairs, you can pull up a seat and enjoy the company of one of Richard Serra’s monolithic rusting hulks.
Which look especially good against the just-starting fall foliage.
This was also a good place to reflect.
Alexander Calder’s piece guards its square of grass like an alien dinosaur envoy who just beamed in via the Space Needle.
Dennis Oppenheim’s traffic cones shout out to the lanes of traffic surging underneath.
But as you start to weave down towards the water, you realize this isn’t some isolated meditative spot; it feels as if the guts of the city are churning all around you. Planes sail overhead, container ships glide out to sea, trains rock below you—like bonus pieces of kinetic sculpture especially commissioned for the park.
In fact, that’s what I think makes this place so remarkable.
Anyone could have slapped a green-topped cap over the “ugly” parts; this place interacts brilliantly with all them.
It makes you feel very small in the scheme of things.
Yet optimistic about the future of our cities.
And on that note,
We’ve reached the end.
A few more pics here.