A Secluded Plaza: Blanchard Brick

by Aaron Luoma

Location: Blanchard Ave. between 5th & 6th Downtown Seattle, WA

This plaza is located along Blanchard Ave. between 5th and 6th in downtown Seattle. The entirely brick plaza is flanked by two large office towers. The small space faces south, but receives relatively little sun light because of the buildings and larger trees planted in some small beds. The space has several levels with stairs. A large partially disguised ventilation shaft for the underground parking below the building, dominates the front entrance into the small plaza. The two paths that lead into the space, first take one into a side entrance to the adjacent office building. To the side are some stairs that leads to a smaller, more intimate space with benches, trashcan, and ashtray. Large, over-sized floodlights turn on during the night, discouraging vagrant populations from using the space. Signs are posted disallowing certain activities, such as skateboarding. The plantings include mostly native plants, with several evergreens. Terracotta pots with plants are placed along side the building for decorative elements. Stainless steel handrails stand in contrast to the brick material used throughout the site. The obscurity of materials and isolated nature of this plaza provides little more than a break for lunch or a smoke for the office workers near by.

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Micro Urbanism

The term “micro-urbanism” describes small-scale urban spaces and design interventions that enable a wide variety of activities, events, processes and functions to take place. It also involves ways to reinterpret the urban landscape. As a class project, the purpose for creating this Guide is to bring attention to aspects of our everyday environment that are important but often neglected parts of the urban experiences.

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