After over a decade of involvement in advocacy for the now emerging transformation of the Seattle's Central Waterfront, we are pleased to have been selected to assist the consulting efforts led by CH2M Hill and James Corner Field Operations. Architects with Schemata Workshop have had involvement over the years with helping to craft a new vision for the waterfront. The impetus for the current waterfront efforts presented itself in the aftermath of the February 2001 Nisqually earthquake, that raised awareness of the vulnerability of the Alaska Way Viaduct and what should become of the waterfront after it is removed. Continuing the urban activist tradition of local architects starting in the late 1960's under Action:Better City, Schemata Workshop founding partners Grace Kim and Mike Mariano (Central Waterfront residents since 1999) worked with a small group of A:BC members on short films in the early '00s. These included "Viaduct What Viaduct" in 2003 that focused on bringing greater public awareness to the opportunities presented on the Central Waterfront through removal of the Viaduct:
Action:Better City film, "Viaduct What Viaduct?" 3-minute trailer
Action:Better City film, "Viaduct What Viaduct?" 23-minute film
Mike transitioned from A:BC to the executive committee of Allied Arts of Seattle (AAS), and contributed to a substantial effort through this civic organization that helped to redefine the entire waterfront conversation as an opportunity for more than just a transportation corridor. AAS has a long history of positive influence in Seattle, including Victor Steinbrueck's leadership in saving the beloved Pike Place Market from all but certain demolition 40 years ago. For the Central Waterfront, Mike and other AAS board members with Executive Director David Yeaworth built a grass-roots effort that convinced city and state officials, dignitaries, environmentalists, the Port, and the public at large of the need to turn our waterfront into the heart and soul of the city. Mike worked with AAS to develop the Guiding Principles for the AAS campaign, principles that have essentially been incorporated into the current project as adopted by the City of Seattle, also under the same Waterfront For All name.
Pike Place Market: An early Allied Arts victory and a key place on Seattle's Central Waterfront
After moving to Seattle in 2002, John Feit also became engaged in the Waterfront For All effort. Working with Mike at Miller|Hull, Mike's enthusiasm for the project was quickly shared with John, who started attending many public meetings to not only understand the challenge, but to advocate for a better waterfront solution as part of the Waterfront for All Campaign. Mike and AAS organized the first design workshop (or "charrette") to help energize the design community around the potential. John led two of the three waterfront charrette teams (one city sponsored, the other by AAS). AAS widely promoted the graphics from the charrettes, as the organization tirelessly lobbied stakeholders, many of whom are now leading the current project. .
More information can be found on the Central Waterfront website: