Thursday 2.25.10

The Color Stone @ NBBJ

I spent the day in a common workstation at NBBJ painting color chips onto wallet-sized fortune cards. I use this toy German watercolor set. A week ago, I read about color theory and color in design and dreams. I spent some time then watching the color wall in the lobby at NBBJ, writing the landscapes, emotions and affects these colors had on the immediate environment. I brought in a friend and we wrote together about this. From our work, I composed little fortunes to correspond to each color. Now when you walk into or past NBBJ and the wall is yellow it means something. Sudden Significance. The wall changes colors slowly over the course of the day. It takes one hour for the wall to shift from blue to purple.

Hand Drawn

At noon, I was invited to attend a project review with pizza. It was a strong presentation by the waterfront tunnel operations team. Massive fans will keep the tunnel aerated and free of carbon monoxide. The buildings that house these fans are called lungs. Nice! I was delighted to see a show of colored hand drawings on the projection screen. For the first time, the slide show was more interesting than what was going on in the room! There was no wind in the trees, the birds were not in a flocking mood, the people were all hiding in cars, but the shading and textures in the drawings took my eyes and mind on a journey and that was a significant event. It drew me into a visual participation. You can have your computer renderings. Give me a line drawing. I learned the tunnel-boring machine used for the project will be 400’ long. Wow. Imagine the mole’s surprise! They called the area south of Pioneer Square "The Greater Duwamish Industrial Zone." I like this, better than Sodo.

Take a Note

“Pioneer Square desperately needs some residential.” Agreed. Seattle has been bringing in artists with short-term projects to solve the social woes of the area, when what it really needs is a stronger, ongoing community of residents. “Here is an idea that will reconnect South Lake Union with the center of the city.” I’ve felt this disconnection, but I’ve never articulated it. Interesting to question how our various neighborhoods are connected or disconnected, what fights the connection, what aids it. “There are no zoning requirements on chimneys.” Makes me want to build a chimney house. We saw an array of venting buildings from all over the world. Those in Boston take on the cladding of their environment. Those in New York are monumental and heavy and screen a thing you presumably don’t want to see. Most of the international examples are crazy and sculptural. And then I heard it! The unthinkable. “We’re building a lifelong building here, not a 20-30 year structure.” Wow. Sounds downright un-American. It's got me wishing all buildings housed significant venting machines.

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