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Imagine Tacoma – Umbrella of History
With the wet weather upon us (well at least for the next 9 months anyways), and the impact that our liquid sunshine can have on the use and enjoyment of urban spaces, Imagine Tacoma considers a rain screen for the under-utilized and under-valued space at the entry to the Washington State History Museum:
One of the urban design challenges for downtown Tacoma is it being situated on a predominately East facing hill – so while it looks great in the early morning (and you will notice that most daylight photos of Downtown are shot before noon), it falls into deep shade in the afternoon. Thus, any open urban space to the North of a building is almost in perpetual shade (and as my wife’s Grandmother told me when we headed out to the Pacific Northwest “you’ll love Tacoma, on the hottest day of the year you can sit in the shade and put on a sweater.”). So while the entry to the History Museum has s strong design connection to Union Station and South 19th Street, it is not an environmentally comfortable space most of any day (ideal for Austin, Texas maybe – but not Tacoma, Washington).
Why not a large glass conservatory umbrella over the History Museum entrance – channel the Seymour Conservatory and New York City’s Winter Garden at Battery Park so to speak. The design architect for the History Museum – Moore/Andersson – envisioned such greenhouses/birdcages for one of the design incantations for the Chihuly Bridge so it would not be that far a stretch to incorporate (and if the design fees alone were tallied for the many bridge studies, the umbrella could probably have been paid for).
With such a cover, this History Museum Entry Court could become a much more vitalized space within the downtown. Combine it with Setting the Chihuly Bridge Free and the BassAckwarding of MoG, we might not miss a Tollefson Plaza at all.
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