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July 23, 2014

Spokane's Expo '74 site may get OKA makeover

Image by Olson Kundig Architects [enlarge]

People in Spokane will vote Nov. 4 on a $60 million bond issue to gussy up the city's popular but long-neglected Riverfront Park.

The 100-acre park is along the banks of the Spokane River. It was built on the grounds of the world's fair, Expo '74, and 40 years later many of the facilities are dated and need repairs.

Recommendations in the Riverfront Park master plan would cost $100 million to complete.

A citizen advisory committee hired Olson Kundig Architects of Seattle and other architectural firms to develop concepts for the fairground, park and pavilions.

OKA proposed a series of small, multipurpose pavilions in key locations around park. The design for each pavilion builds on the environmental theme of Expo '74 with designs that draw upon the natural setting.

The pavilion in this rendering has a water theme and would be built on the east end of Havermale Island. It could be used for indoor-outdoor events such as weddings, reunions and corporate activities.

Others pavilions would have earth and air themes. The U.S. Pavilion that remains from the fair would be redeveloped with a fire theme and serve as an event center.

Nick Johnson, marketing studio manager for OKA, said the pavilion designs are conceptual for now.

The pavilions would be among a number of proposed projects, including two new pedestrian promenades, an expanded Looff Carousel building, an ice rink, two event plazas, and a 1.5-acre playground.

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