About Marymoor Park

Marymoor Park is the largest King County Park that has the richest history, the most varieties of sports, events and open space for people who enjoy nature. Marymoor Park also has 40 acres of off-leash dog area, multiple trails, bird and wildlife watching and seasonal activities including concerts, outdoor movies, boy scouts, picnicking.

What problem am I trying to solve?

Marymoor park does not have a well-known or official landmark. “A landmark is a recognizable natural or artificial feature used for navigation, a feature that stands out from its near environment and is often visible from long distances. In modern use, the term can also be applied to smaller structures or features, that have become local or national symbols.” — Wikipedia.

As far as Marymoor Park’s features as a landmark, our best bet is the windmill or the climbing wall. However, their locations make them easy to miss, and they both don’t stand out enough to be memorable as landmarks. Ideally, we want something that people would talk about. Something like this: You know that weird structure has golden spikes(or whatever) on it, you can see it from miles away, you can’t miss it. That’s where Marymoor is!

Discovery

While searching for Marymoor Park, I realized that there are many things to include. Marymoor Park is dedicated to providing various activities to all kinds of people. Who are these people? People who live around the Seattle area.

Seattle people are very interesting. We have people from all around the world. We have people with unique cultures, backgrounds and beliefs, who enjoy different foods and especially coffee. We truly are a melting pot. We are loving, respectful, polite and tech-savvy, except for the phenomenon called “Seattle Freeze”. Lots of cafes have put out signs like “No wifi, talk to each other and pretend it’s 1995”. I think it’s a warm message and a gentle reminder.

The Seattle area is such an inclusive place. It doesn’t matter what race, gender, size or sexual orientation you are, as long as you are a good person. Marymoor Park gives me this feeling too. It’s so generous of it’s space and activities, welcoming everyone equally.

When searching for the semantics of Marymoor Park, Seattle culture can’t be ignored. And we see so many colors in this place. While Capitol Hill has rainbow walks, I think Marymoor Park should have something similar in spirit. Finally, I encountered Janet Echelman’s work. Especially the “Bending Arc” she’s about to do in St. Pete Pier District. Her work is large, colorful and interactive, which is exactly what I have been looking for, but it is outworldly in it’s nature.

This is what she said about the “Bending Arc”: “The spirit of this Pier Park is about including everyone, all ages, all walks of life. This is a space for everyone to enjoy”. Now that sounds a lot like what we are trying to do for Marymoor Park. Although Janet’s art is very large and expensive, Marymoor Park does have the space for it and would be great for people to lay down on the grass and look up to her sculpture while it ripples in the wind.

Bending Arc in Sunlight
Bending Arc at Night

“My work is about a responsive relationship with wind and sun and water. We are part of that evolving changing environment. When you’re lying down underneath the sculpture, you are part of it too. It’s a moment in our lives to slow down, to contemplate and enjoy,” she said.

Although Janet’s work looks delicate, it’s designed for harsh weather. It would even be an interesting sight during a storm.

Bending Arc from distance
Bending Arc from distance

“The St. Pete Pier piece is her largest work to date. It will be 76 feet tall at its highest point, and 428 feet wide at its widest point. It will use more than 84 miles of twine and 1,067,212 knots. There’s private funding for the $1.3 million cost of the sculpture, with the city of St. Pete paying for infrastructure costs as part of the Pier construction. It’s scheduled to be complete in December.

She’s recommended that landscape architects also install hammocks around the sculpture, similar to her work in Boston, where people lie in the grass and watch her sculpture ripple in the wind overhead.

Echelman uses space-age fibers, coated with the same material used for astronauts’ space suits, and designed to withstand the degradation that can be caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. The fiber is extruded with color that won’t wear off. It’s loomed on machines, then hand-knotted and hand-spliced to create the form.

She’s worked with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission to ensure safety for wildlife and birds, and the piece is engineered to withstand the strongest hurricanes. ‘There’s a been sculpture on the waterfront in Portugal up for 14 years, and it’s so exciting to watch it in a storm. They are designed for these kinds of weather’ she said.” (Catalyst)

The Artist

Janet Echelman sculpts at the scale of buildings and city blocks. Echelman’s work defies categorization, as it intersects Sculpture, Architecture, Urban Design, Material Science, Structural & Aeronautical Engineering, and Computer Science. Echelman’s art transforms with wind and light, and shifts from being “an object you look at, into an experience you can get lost in.”

Using unlikely materials from atomized water particles to engineered fiber fifteen times stronger than steel, Echelman combines ancient craft with computational design software to create artworks that have become focal points for urban life on five continents, from Singapore, Sydney, Shanghai, and Santiago, to Beijing, Boston, New York and London. Permanent works in Porto, Vancouver, San Francisco, West Hollywood, Phoenix, Eugene, Greensboro, Philadelphia, and Seattle transform daily with colored light. 

Curiosity defines Janet Echelman’s nonlinear educational path. After graduating from Harvard College, she lived in a Balinese village for 5 years, then completed separate graduate programs in Painting and in Psychology. A recipient of an honorary Doctorate from Tufts University, Echelman has taught at MIT, Harvard and Princeton Universities. 

Her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 35 languages with more than two million views. Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Harvard Loeb Fellowship, Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellowship, and Fulbright Sr. Lectureship, Echelman received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts, honoring “the greatest innovators in America today.” In popular culture, Oprah ranked Echelman’s work #1 on her List of 50 Things That Make You Say Wow!, and Echelman was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.”

Landmark Location

If we really were to get Janet to design another inclusive piece in Marymoor park, it could be the landmark of the park because her work is usually big enough to hang between skyscrapers. The location I chose is right in the middle of Willowmoore farm. In front of the Clise Mansion and not far away from the concert, there’s a big open space with nothing but grass. This is perfect for people to lay underneath and admire the sculpture. Willowmoore farm is also not far away from the main entrance. If the sculpture were to hang high enough, people might see it passing by which would bring them into the park.

Another reason why it would be here is wayfinding. When driving into the park, there’s no clear sign of where the mansion and concert are. Many pass them by without even knowing that they are there. With the sculpture being there, people would see it from miles away and automatically know how to get there.

Marymoor Park is spacious and full of life, but it does not have the best wayfinding system. People could miss many attractions and it’s hard to get around. There are several reasons why their wayfinding is not the best:

1. Signage is small and difficult to spot.

2. Signage is not consistent, and not well organized.

3. Missing signage when needed.

To solve these problems, we first need to design signage that’s easy to spot. Something that stands out against the greeneries.

Implementation

Final signage and randering