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Imagine Tacoma – Tear it Down (Take Two)
So having asked the question last week about which building in Tacoma you would remove to make room for new imaginative possibilities – and trying not to use mere aesthetics as the overriding criteria for deconstruction – here are three candidates for your consideration:
Park Plaza North
This may be a building on everyone’s list. I actually like architectural brutalism as a style, but this building does indeed embody Nicolai Ouroussoff’s prime guideline for demolition consideration when it exhibits a total disregard for its surrounding context – and more importantly, it’s removal would allow for new possibilities. Until such time that it is taken ‘out of service,’ how about some modifications? – IT’s Plant Vines and Transit Alley.
This building falls into the ‘destruction of a vista’ category. The visual terminus of the Pacific Avenue Axis looking to the South should either be a grove of Douglas Firs OR a structure that is symbolic of a community’s aspirations. A number of years ago there was great political interest in creating a Tacoma Spire – an iconic structure with an observation platform to be located next to the Convention Center. Well, what about affixing such an element to the North wall of Pacific Tower?
The beef here is not the building (except for the ‘transfer station’ aesthetic at Market Street – and actually the transfer station has better landscaping) – it is the actual placement cutting-off Broadway Avenue that warrants its removal. This building – and its associated open space (sic) – is the classic planning result of the tail wagging the dog. When a City does not have a Urban Design Master Plan for where it is going, the criteria for locating significant infrastructure projects – like the bLINK – become politically centric (and this usually happens without reference of a city’s past and/or concern for its long term future). The building design is actually a creative use of a difficult site; however, it would have been a whole lot more appropriate, and significantly less expensive, if it had been located along the Foss Waterway or at the Tacoma Dome. Bring back Bimbos and let Broadway run free again!
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