Imagine Tacoma – Crane Ready Projects

What is the urban design quality of that scary little park located between the Rust Building and Park Plaza North along Pacific Avenue? Other than when the Park Plaza Projects were dedicated – has anyone actually performed at the little stage among the trees? This space is much more habitable for a hibernating Fremont Troll than actually supporting human occupancy (being on the North side of the Rust Building and seeing very little sunlight).

So imagine filling this site in with a temporary structure (affordably constructed for a fifteen to twenty year lifespan) that allows for removal at such a time that the Park Plaza North is finally redeveloped (sic). With the pending glut of shipping containers at the Port of Tacoma – and the renewed interest in shipping container architecture from the works of Shigeru Ban and recent design competitions – Tacoma could immediately commence filling the vast number of vacant asphalt and concrete surfaces with ‘Crane Ready Projects.’

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Comments

Erik B.

Yes, that place is useless and a empty blight created by misguided “space makers” years ago which has made yet another Tacoma spooky dead zone. 

Fill this hole in.

February 11, 2009 at 5:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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uoaaa181

I love this space and how it is.  Often I’ve imagined art installations being placed here and have some ideas brewing about movies/performances/installations.  It’s a great urban opportunity for unexpected events.  Why fill it with another vacant building when we already have so many in this town?  There are vacant lots everywhere here.  Let’s build great buildings there and start to encourage use of our urban treasures instead.

Similar with the Spanish Steps…wouldn’t it be great to have performance artists perform there!

February 11, 2009 at 5:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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jamie from thriceallamerican

Definitely a weird and shady site.  But it would actually be cool to have the city (or <span class=“caps”>BIA</span>, or Downtown Merchants, or whatever) seize upon some of these little mini-performance venues downtown (this place, the spot by Albers Mill, Tollefson, etc.) for summer outdoor concerts…

February 11, 2009 at 6:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

As much as I appreciate the reuse of shipping containers, take a look on the web. there are hundreds of more interesting arrangements than that.

Not to sound rude, but that arrangement is about as aesthetically pleasing as Park Place North is.

I do think using these hidden “urban stages” is a fabulous idea, though.

Of course, I’d also rather see the city <span class=“caps”>FDISK</span> the <span class=“caps”>PPN</span> and reinstall something else with bare minimum, a multi-level system with a pleasing <span class=“caps”>GUI</span>.

February 11, 2009 at 6:40 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Definitely a weird and shady site. But it would actually be cool to have the city (or <span class=“caps”>BIA</span>, or Downtown Merchants, or whatever) seize upon some of these little mini-performance venues downtown (this place, the spot by Albers Mill, Tollefson, etc.) for summer outdoor concerts

Yep.  That’s how it was designed years ago.  A raised platform with electricity to it. 

However, the entrances to the Rust Building do not enter into it.  Instead, there is a sky bridge above deflecting all of the pedestrians away from it.

There is actually a massive hole in back of the raised platform (check it out during lunch) where the stairs go down and then back up the hill making it a <span class=“caps”>CPTED</span> disaster with many hidden areas.

On the other side of the area is the dead North Park Plaza Parking Garage.

With no life spilling on it and dead edges and a bizzare raised platform removing it further from access, it has created an ever present dead zone. 

Another example in downtown Tacoma of good intentions yet incompetent urban design.

No doubt the area was opened with ribbon cutting and won an award.

The area could be recovered if the North Park Plaza Parking Garage was knocked down and the new building had a restaurant that spilled onto it and the Rust Building removed the skybridge so people would walk on the street through the area.

February 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

this location with its absence of sunlight is a perfect spot for a moss garden   or mushroom farm.

February 11, 2009 at 8:07 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

@T’OT

bro, hasn’t anyone ever told you that flattery will get you everywhere?  I like the <span class=“caps”>BOE</span> design.  It is a fine example of Brutalist Architecture

My interpenetration of The two “A” frame triangles at the base of this structure symbolize the principles of modern reason: Atheism and Anarchy. 

Long live the new flesh! Death to the empire!

February 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

Hopefully something will be done with Park Plaza North (<span class=“caps”>PPN</span>) before anything like this project ever gets off the ground.

A downtown mall would be great at <span class=“caps”>PPN</span>’s location.  Is the block wide enoug though?

February 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Anike Maj

I’ve considered performing there in the past, and actually am planning on busking there once the weather warms up again.

Also, I don’t see why all the open spaces in the city need to be filled.  I would be very sad to lose that one, as I often sit there, in happy solitude, and stare at the trees.

February 11, 2009 at 11:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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DavidS

“These trees need to go…”  To digress, have you seen the trees going in along the <span class=“caps”>LID</span> project?  Put some proper street trees along the street and proper park trees in the park.  Oh and that lovely look out built into the intersection of St. Helens & Market has a nice axial view – with a tree planted in the middle of it.  Aaargh!

Hopefully, the proposed Urban Forestry package being discussed in the Environment & Public Works Cmte as I write resolves some of these issues.  We can only hope.

February 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

@ David S… Ginkgo biloba… not native but a very good urban tree. Pollution resistant too!

@ Jesse… a block long is entirely sufficient when you build up. Think just how much office/retail/hotel/residences you could get on that site if you went 40 stories.

@ RR… brutalist architecture is exactly what you need if you want to make people feel even more uncomfortable. I think <span class=“caps”>PPN</span> is brutal enough that we won’t need to cover that niche for the next 1000 years.

I’ll take an empty lot over most of the examples shown in the wikipedia link.

<span class=“caps”>FDISK</span> the <span class=“caps”>PPN</span>!

let this be our battle cry…

February 12, 2009 at 12:04 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Michael S.

I don’t think the building is intended as any kind of final design, more or less just a place holder to illustrate the sites potential. I like the idea of filling all these useless little spaces with experimental/temporary/recycled structures, though the empty lots should definitely be built up first. On another note, I had the perfect idea for Tollefson the other day: give it a membrane tent ala Munich Olympic Park. It would make it more compatible with less than ideal weather conditions, bring a sense of closure the space desperately needs, as well as add an interesting new architectural feature to the city.

February 12, 2009 at 1:22 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Phil

Other than moving something there we don’t like seeing somewhere else, I don’t see much opportunity in this ‘park’ (term used loosely).  It has been this dark & creepy since I was a kid.

.

The space might make a cool doggie day care with a couple of shipping containers shaped into ‘Fido’s Haus’.  A downtown amenity for neurotic pet owners in the surrounding office buildings?  I don’t know….

.

Providence RI is a good case study for scary squares such as this.  They strung commercial holiday lights into some of their more desolate urban crevices.  Felt very much like you were in a U2 video & before you knew it, cultural creativity began to show up (helped, no doubt, by <span class=“caps”>RISD</span> & Brown University).

February 12, 2009 at 5:21 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Vlorg, the Mighty

The idea is awful, I expected better from David Boe.

Forget shipping containers like that, whe should use them as single-story generic restaurants and class F office space.

I mean, that’s all they build here anyway.

February 12, 2009 at 6:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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drizell

Living in and loving a trade-dependent city like Tacoma once made me want to incorporate shipping containers into my own architectural portfolio. However, I didn’t end up doing such a project, and for that I’m quite glad. Shipping containers have been done to death already. There are actually design competitions out there that require you to construct buildings out of them. Plus, I count myself among the fans of these hidden public space gems. It’s a great place to read a book or study while being surrounded by so much activity and not being overwhelmed by it.

February 12, 2009 at 7:11 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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DavidS

@11 <span class=“caps”>TOT</span>: Ginkgo biloba… not native but a very good urban tree. Pollution resistant too!

Some in the <span class=“caps”>LID</span> may be ginkgos, but certainly not all.  It’s that lack of rhythm and design that I’m more concerned about.  Why do plants regularly seem to be an afterthought on projects?

(As a side note: Ginkgos are questionable street trees due to their massive forms.  I’m with you on their resistances, but any tree that routinely grows over 60×60 is going to have a rough go of it on a downtown street.  I like the ginkgos & their history, but let’s give them a place where they will be happy.)

February 12, 2009 at 3:41 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Mofo from the Hood

Hey Mr. Boe:

Let’s make this concept Tacoma specific. I’m sure that you’re familar with railroad coach diner’s. You know, the 20th century practice of converting actual railroad cars into cafes that are fixed onto the cityscape.

Well, how about for this little Tacoma park if instead of stacking shipping containers, that we stack streetcars? Then if it ever comes to pass that Tacoman’s want to revive rolling streetcar service…Well, you know, just add wheels.

February 12, 2009 at 4:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chelsea

I walk past this space every day. No matter how you look at it (from Commerce, Pacific or from above) it’s always dark, dank and filled with debris (despite the best efforts of the <span class=“caps”>BIA</span>).  Getting rid of the cement pyramid on the Pacific side is a good first step to lightening things up and making it a more inviting public space.

February 12, 2009 at 8:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

<span class=“caps”>FDISK</span> the <span class=“caps”>PPN</span>!

February 12, 2009 at 11:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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ZOMG

what the hell is fdisk?

February 13, 2009 at 4:20 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

zomg:

fdisk is leet speak for the f word.  <span class=“caps”>FYI</span>.

February 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Mofo from the Hood

What the fdisk is leet speak?

February 13, 2009 at 7:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

watch the ’90 movie ‘hackers’ starring Angelina Jossy to be schooled in the fine art of poser leetspeak.

February 13, 2009 at 8:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

fdisk ain’t 733t, people.

it’s a <span class=“caps”>DOS</span> command to erase a hard drive…

But we can go nerdier than that:

rm -rf ~/*

February 14, 2009 at 4:22 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

Go ahead. Open up a terminal on your shiny new Mac and run the above code.

Just type

rm -rf ~/*

and press enter. Go on… I dare you.

February 14, 2009 at 4:28 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

put that thing back in your pants TO’T.  you not fooling anyone with ur haxor script kiddie jiv3.

February 14, 2009 at 5:10 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

That’s not being a script kiddie nor a haxx0r.

February 14, 2009 at 5:46 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Whitney

Ummm…. Did I get lost? I thought I was in David Boe’s column.

Let’s keep it on topic please people.

February 14, 2009 at 6:46 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

The topic veered off on a tangent based on a call to raze (or fdisk or rm -rf) Park Place North (<span class=“caps”>PPN</span>) instead of filling the gaps around it with recycled steel shipping containers.

Apparently my choice of using computer jargon instead of more common terminology proved to be a poor choice.

——> My original point is, was and still will be: Reusing shipping containers is a great idea, but not in the way proposed by David Boe.

We need to get <span class=“caps”>PPN</span> razed and something worthwhile built on that piece of prime real estate.

February 14, 2009 at 7:21 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

I bet if you built a lot of these container condos up by Yakima and 25th-ish, with a view of the actual port, you’d get lots of interest in them.  They’d fit in well around the old brick brewery towards the freeway too.  That’d be a cool neighborhood!

Can I help fdisk <span class=“caps”>PPN</span>?  Let’s have a party when that thing is finally gone.

February 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

We can have a party on the <span class=“caps”>PPN</span>’s smoldering ruins, and then throw a real party when something gets built there… instead of it sitting as a big hole or empty lot for years (as I’m afraid might happen).

February 15, 2009 at 1:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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