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October 12, 2016

Freeway Park tour and talk Oct. 15 honor the life of Lawrence Halprin

Photo by Sam Bennett [enlarge]
The first phase of the 5.5-acre park opened in 1976.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation will hold a free tour of Seattle's Freeway Park at 11 a.m. Saturday to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.

After the tour, the Freeway Park Association will hold a panel discussion about the park's future at 12:30 p.m. in the Sky Lounge at Horizon House, 900 University St.

Register at http://tiny.cc/yzqcfy/.

Panelists include Brice Maryman of MIG|SvR (who will also be the tour guide), Riisa Conklin of the Freeway Park Association and Victoria Schoenburg of Seattle Parks & Recreation. Iain Robertson of the University of Washington will be the moderator.

The first phase of the 5.5-acre park opened in 1976. It was executed by Lawrence Halprin & Associates under the design direction of Angela Danadjieva.

The construction of Interstate 5 divided downtown Seattle. After Halprin's book “Freeways” was published in 1966, city officials commissioned his office to reconnect the city with a park, according to the foundation. A recent PBS documentary called “10 Parks that Changed America” cites Freeway Park as an example of how parks over highways can heal the fabric of a city.

Landscape architect Maryman will discuss the history and the future of the park. The event is part of a program celebrating Halprin, who died in 2009.

Halprin's obituary in The New York Times said that he “helped forge a new, sharper style of landscape architecture, often as dependent on concrete as on vegetation.” He is also known for his work on Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, urban spaces with fountains in Portland and large plazas in Los Angeles.

Charles Birnbaum, founder and president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, was quoted in the obituary as saying Halprin “almost single-handedly reclaimed the city as the purview of the landscape architect.”

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