Ever wonder what buildings of the future will look like? Or, what public spaces will be like in the future? This is an amazing time of the year here in the Pacific Northwest. Not only are the overcast skies slowly giving up their steely grip — but several of our area’s forward thinkers and designers are shedding some light on what the built environment and public places might look like in years to come. This week, several public events being held at our region’s very own futuristic civic institution, Seattle Center – home of the 1962 World’s Fair and current host to ‘The Next Fifty’ celebration through October.
I have had the great honor of working with Denis Hayes and Jason McLennan on the Bullitt Center project over the past few years. Denis was one of the visionary co-founders of Earth Day back in 1970, a landmark event which essentially launched the U.S. environmental movement and brought about numerous changes in public policy. He is now the guiding force behind the Bullitt Center currently under construction in Seattle, a building that aims to set a new standard for urban sustainability. Jason McLennan is the CEO of Cascadia Green Building Council and is the author of the Living Building Challenge, a program that is profoundly affecting the way we design and construct buildings — and which is the standard the Bullitt Center has been designed to meet. On May 10th, Denis and Jason will be discussing ‘The Future of Building Design’ at the Intiman Theater, on the grounds of historic Seattle Center. If you are concerned about the planet and you care about building design, you won’t want to miss this event. It should be an amazing and inspiring discussion by visionaries with a long history of involvement with progressive change in this century.
I have also had the pleasure of serving on an advisory committee that developed the Howard S. Wright ‘Urban Intervention’ Design Ideas Competition for Public Space, another Seattle Center ‘Next Fifty’ event. Urban Intervention is an international design competition that asks designers to help envision what public space will be like in the future. The proposed site for the intervention is the Seattle Center campus and teams were challenged with developing a new use for nine acres there, including the Memorial Stadium site. The three finalist teams are coming to Seattle this weekend to present their visions and to discuss the future of public space. Videos of each team’s solution can be viewed here and check here for more event information. If you care about public spaces and like to think about the future, come to the historic Seattle Center campus — home to visionary thinking of the last century – for a look forward to what is possible as we move toward the next century.