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.

Pacific Tower
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?

Convention Center
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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Comments

RR Anderson

insert thorax photo of fab 50’s building taken at an inappropriate angle.

October 11, 2008 at 1:43 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

lets be real.  this building is one of a kind.  This building should be required study for any architecture student.

October 14, 2008 at 12:49 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

is architecture just an extension of man’s hubris? 

One thing is certain.  Architects are notorious pranksters

October 14, 2008 at 12:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

Hey RR, that building would make a great Tacoma Boys grocery store in my idealized world…

PS- You have <span class=“caps”>WAY</span> too much time on your hands!

October 14, 2008 at 1:47 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

not true.  I barely have any time on my hands.

I also agree it would make an awesome grocery store.

October 14, 2008 at 2:02 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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You're Welcome

I’ve always liked that building on 6th and St. Helens.  Fancied myself opening a Vespa dealer in that space, a few years back.

The spire thing?  If a private entity pays for and builds it, then sweet!  If the Tacoma taxpayers have to foot the bill, that would be a disgusting waste of our money.  Unless they actually serve Spire cider there, like 3 different varieties always on tap.  I’d vote to build the real Spire Cider tower.

October 14, 2008 at 2:26 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Douglas Tooley

Love the Pacific Tower idea, living only 3 blocks away.

I’m just outside of the Mixed Use Center for the area, something that just finished review at the Planning Commission, where Mr. Boe presides as Vice-Chair.

There should be a good design review process for this area – and, unfortunately, the number one criteria may well be finding ways to make the Pacific Tower look better – as well as transition to the surrounding ridgetop view neighborhoods.

There are greenbelts in the area that deserve protection as well, something I’m working.  Perhaps 133 would publish a piece on same from moi?

October 14, 2008 at 2:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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