Pike Place Market Hill Climb Redevelopment

client: pike place market preservation and development authority

size: 2 acres

location: seattle, washington

duration: 2008–2010

construction cost: $23,000,000

Pike Place Market is the beloved soul of the city with a complex and subtle system of open spaces in the public realm. Careful urban surgery generously rein vigorates its upper hill climb to create an open, iconic connection to the Market’s back door.

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Seattle voters passed a $73 million levy in November 2008 to fund the first major renovations to the Market in 30 years. Funds focused on critical infrastructural upgrades, including the consolidation of the Market’s utility core below the upper hill climb. The utility upgrades were an opportunity to re-envision the 57-foot hill climb between Western Avenue and Pike Place.

Swift Company partnered with an innovative team of architects, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers to decode the site’s layered history and to create a series of legible , welcoming spaces scaled for pedestrian comfort and enjoyment. Stairways carefully wind up the hill climb, providing vital access to the Market’s lower levels, and spacious landings provide views of the street and Puget Sound.

The streetscape is now an enlarged platform announcing the hill climb and providing plentiful space for gathering and performance. The planting is intentionally simple, with expanses of vines integrated with board-formed concrete walls, salvaged wood benches, and metal rails. The new hill climb is both practical and direct, contributing its own personality to the uniqueness of Seattle’s most prized cultural icon.

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