Seattle City Hall

City of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

A joint venture effort of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Bassetti Architects, Seattle's new City Hall is a powerful addition to downtown. Functionally, it meets the space needs of the mayor and city council, and provides new venues for public gathering, reception and citizen services. Symbolically, its design elements evoke the spirit of the Northwest and reflect the city's rising international profile-a true expression of Seattle's civility and livability.

The 201,000 sq. ft. City Hall celebrates the sloping site with a grand stair through a stepped plaza designed by landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson. Employees, citizens, and visitors will be welcomed with sweeping views of Puget Sound and the Olympics as they move through a landscape of terraced gardens and amphitheater seating. Together with its Civic Plaza, City Hall will be a lively place for public gathering, opening up the downtown area and facilitating the evolution of the business district.

The final building scheme, a result of extensive community input, consists of a seven-story glass office block, a metal Council Chamber, and a lobby of transparent and translucent glass uniting the two. This transparency reflects the goal of an open, accessible city government, easily identified, where ordinary citizens can locate city services. The curved metal volume of the City Council Chamber is a modern form that evokes a civic dome. City Hall is intended for community meetings of all sorts, both formal and informal.

City Hall is a Gold LEED certified project. It incorporates numerous sustainable features, such as an underfloor air distribution system. This method of circulation allows for more economy and control than the typical overhead duct system. Light shelves at the windows extend natural light deep into the interior, reducing the need for artificial lighting. A green roof on the lower volume of the Council Chamber block is not only visually pleasing, but soaks up rainwater and allows it to evaporate gradually.

The objective of the design team for City Hall was to create a space that incorporates the Seattle style: love and stewardship of the environment, technology, and a participatory attitude toward civic government, leading to a great source of community pride.


2009 Green GOOD DESIGN
The European Center for Architecture and The Chicago Athenaeum
2008 Tucker Award for Design
Building Stone Institute
2006 Merit Award, IDEAS Awards Program
American Institute of Steel Construction
2006 Honor Award for Design
AIA Washington Council
2005 Commendation for Design
AIA Seattle
2003 Award of Excellence for Electrical Design
Northwest Construction
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Related Links

External: On Architecture, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tuesday, October 25, 2005
External: Overexposed, By Witold Rybczynski, Hon. FAIA
News: Seattle City Hall and Ridge House Receive Tucker Design Awards