Seattle C.A.P., Seattle, United States
Patano Studio Architecture

The construction of Interstate 5 through the heart of Seattle in 1962 resulted in a savage scar of roadway that separates the central neighborhoods of the city. It has forced those who live and work nearby to be disconnected geographically and bombarded by a constant stream of noise and pollution. As the city densifies, opportunities for significant public green space are becoming more difficult to attain. The C.A.P. project proposes to recover the space lost to the freeway by structurally capping a section of the I-5 and covering the expansive swath of land with a 45 acre, 2-mile long park. Additionally, the plan outlines the creation of a 20,000 seat hybrid arena/convention space and other non-park structures including a cultural center, housing, office/research space, and parking.  
The C.A.P. project proposes a city-wide architectural infrastructure solution to multiple issues facing the fast-growing city of Seattle, and would serve as a worldwide model in vertical and green space development for rapidly densifying urban areas. This project would provide the city with a 45 Acre Park which would intrinsically reduce noise and emissions. Additionally, the capping of the freeway would provide stormwater mitigation via the green spaces. The project would offset its energy consumption/create energy through a three-pronged approach:
  • capturing the wind power generated by traffic in the tunnels
  • using heat recovery systems in the tunnel to heat the C.A.P’s buildings
  • capturing the solar energy off the built structures with solar panels
Each of the neighborhoods affected by the I-5 has multiple opportunities to tie the city back together at large and small scales. The connecting pedestrian pathways in the C.A.P. park encourage foot and bike traffic while also connecting the residential areas to the downtown business core. Focus on the public amenities, public input, and evolutionary processes that the C.A.P. infrastructure supports will allow the development of the concept over time. The specific nature of the housing, office spaces, and community center located on the C.A.P. has intentionally remained ambiguous allowing investors and donors to envision future opportunities for sponsorship and development.
With worldwide increases in population and the price of land ever-rising, we must begin to see space not just on the horizontal plane, but vertically as well. Stepping outside of the skyscraper paradigm, what kind of architecture can we create for our communities when they are so densely populated? Can we meet the infrastructure and business needs of a city while also prioritizing the citizens and their well-being? The Seattle C.A.P. creatively and viably answers “yes” to these questions. Seattle sees itself as an innovative and progressive mecca, and this proposal offers the city an opportunity to build a monument to those values that will provide public green space for Seattleites and the generations to come.
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