This piece was written for the second installment for DesignSherpa’s Contest in which I was a contender. However, the piece was not selected to move on, so I’ve decided to post it here. Enjoy!
Louis Sullivan once wrote, “Every building you see is the image of a man you do not see.”
While seeing denotes a sensory reaction influenced by all art, architecture and interior design impede even further on human emotion: inspiring the senses, as well as the heartstrings. To see into the world of art through a canvas is quite different than to be engulfed within it – literally, these are art’s practical sculptures that speak to the ages. Though a person may have designed every detail, one cannot possibly conceive of every event, mundane or significant, possible in a space. These user experiences truly define a building’s personality. Designers have the most prodigious impact on these experiences, as people spend the majority of their time inside our art.
Humans are truly ingenious creatures: working with what we have; creating what we don’t, but more than simply surviving. There are still new frontiers to be plumbed, but we often turn to previous tried-and-true practices when baffled by contemporary issues. I believe that the next revolution in design is a blending of both the beauty and elegance of the past through historic preservation, while protecting the future through sustainable practices.
Appreciation of the past and a belief in the future is what drives a project in my very own, Seattle: the restoration of King Street Station. Built in 1906, a pristine jewel of the “Italianate Rail” Style, the former grandeur of a burgeoning city’s tribute to the “Great Age of Rail Travel” was boarded-up. Forgotten. Decrepit. The “eye-sore of the historic district” was purchased by the city in 2008. Soon after, a strenuous restoration scheme began, but with a twist: designers aimed for a LEED Silver accreditation for the turn-of-the-century building. In the main waiting area, gilded ceilings once hidden by an average grid system, now entertain those waiting. And as soon as 2011, Seattleites will be stepping back in time, simultaneously looking towards the future.
Photo by Jenn Morgan