homeWelcome, sign in or click here to subscribe.login



Architecture & Engineering

print  email to a friend  reprints add to mydjc  

May 9, 2024

$10M Freeway Park improvement project could start next year

Photo by Aaron Leitz [enlarge]
Freeway Park is known for its Brutalist architecture and was designated a city landmark in 2022.

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is eyeing 2025 to start construction on a $10 million improvement project at Freeway Park.

The approximately 5-acre park opened at 700 Seneca St. in 1976.

It has an irregular footprint that stretches over Interstate 5 from the corner of Seneca Street and Sixth Avenue to the corner of Ninth Avenue and Hubbell Place. It was the first city park in North America to be built over an interstate.

Freeway Park was designed by Lawrence Halprin & Associates under the design direction of Angela Danadjieva, with assistance from Peterson Landscape Architects. It features lawns, plazas, plantings, pathways, large planting boxes and dramatic sculptural waterfalls, and is known for its Brutalist architecture with many elements constructed with board-formed concrete.

Plans to extensively renovate and upgrade the park date to 2019 and are funded via $10 million paid to SPR from the Seattle Convention Center Expansion Project that resulted in the new Summit addition (parts of Freeway Park are adjacent to the original center).

Rendering by Walker Macy [enlarge]
An expanded plaza and a new restroom and concierge building are planned for Seneca Plaza at Freeway Park.

Landscape architecture firm Walker Macy has designed the improvements, which were finalized in close collaboration with SPR and with significant community input.

The architect says the vision is to “bring people back to the park, restore its status as a unique downtown destination, and re-establish its relevance as a connection between neighborhoods across I-5.”

Improvements include new lighting, directional and informational signage, drainage and irrigation repairs throughout the park, planting and accessibility improvements in some areas, more visually open and accessible entrances, and expanded lawns and improvements, including restroom upgrades, at the Upper Lawns area.

Seneca Plaza, which abuts the parks signature Canyon Fountain waterfall, will see the most extensive changes. These include a larger plaza, new paving and seating elements, new plantings, and lawn terrace, and two new buildings — a restroom with two stalls and a concierge/storage building.

This work scope builds on the Finding Freeway Park concept plan, produced by the Freeway Park Association which is a project partner.

Walker Macy says the improvements will honor the original architect's vision for the park.

SPR and the design team are currently working on coordinating/documenting the 60% Construction Document Set for the project. This set is now in the review process by SPR technical staff. A round of presentations to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Seattle Landmarks and Preservation Board, and the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation will be scheduled following the completion of the 60% set for review/comments.

Freeway Park was designated a city landmark in July 2022. SPR brought the landmark nomination ahead of the renovations. The designation covers all the park sites, inclusive of built features, landscape, hardscape and other park elements, except for Park Place Plaza, and the interior of an existing comfort station, which are not designated or protected.

SPR estimates that 90% Construction Documents will be completed in July and is targeting to put the project out to bid in early 2025. Construction should run throughout 2025 and be completed in time to celebrate the park's 50th anniversary in spring 2026.

The project team also includes 3 Square Blocks LLC.

Email or user name:
Forgot password? Click here.