Structure Type: built works - public buildings - assembly halls

Designers: Miller Hull Partnership, LLP (firm); Robert E. Hull (architect); David Edward Miller (architect)

Dates: constructed 2001-2002

1 story, total floor area: 21,000 sq. ft.

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305 Harrison Street Harrison Street
Seattle Center, Seattle, WA 98109

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Building History

The Fisher Pavilion replaced the "temporary" Flag Pavilion from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair; it remained in use from 1962-2001, accommodating a range of events, including cultural festivals, commercial and public events. The Flag Pavilion was removed c. 2001. The current Fisher Pavilion replaced it, designed by the renowned Seattle architectural firm of Miller Hill Partners, LLP. Fulfilling the same exhibition functions as its predecessor, it opened to the public in 09/2002. In the Seattle Center's 2000 Master Plan, the City of Seattle indicated that it wished to enhance the complex's central green space near the International Fountain. To increase the apparent size of this open public space and enhance views to other buildings in the center, Miller Hull decided to sink the new pavilion into the earth. The firm web site stated in 2014: "The previous Flag Pavilion and Plaza, which this project replaced, sat as an isolated object along the southern edge of this Green and blocked the view from the nearby Charlotte Martin Children's Theater to the Fountain. Opening up this view, along with the desire to not only replace but also to add square footage for Seattle Center events, led to a 'subterranean' design solution in which the building is essentially pushed down into the ground and a new rooftop belvedere/plaza is created on top. The northern facade of the new Pavilion is glazed, and opens up onto the new Green with a series of roll-up garage doors, while the rooftop plaza above serves as a new vantage point looking out to the Fountain and Green. The Green itself was re-graded into a nearly two-acre bowl to accommodate the frequent large-scale festival gatherings hosted by the Center." The rooftop patio looks out onto the activities in the green below. The architects created a useful solution, one that sacrificed the potential for sculptural monumentality for a larger, park-like assembly space, enabling Seattleites to reconnect with nature. It was a remarkably effective and self-effacing solution, fit to the environmentalist ethos of Seattle.

Building Notes

David E. Miller referred to the Fisher Pavilion as partner Richard E. Hull's "most iconic building in Seattle." (See Michael Upchurch, "Architect Robert Hull 'amazingly creative," Seattle Times, 04/11/2014, p. B2.) The Fisher Pavilion is located in the heart of the former 1962 Seattle World's Fair site. Built into the earth, the pavilion has a glazed wall that looks north onto a 40,000-square-foot greensward. (A circular path stands in front of the pavilion, and an adjacent garden was planted as a memorial to 2001 World Trade Center victims.) Events in the hall can spill outside effortlessly. In its original form, the interior contained 21,000 square feet, 14,000 of which contained exhibition space. The building's flat roof accommodated a 19,000-square-foot patio space.

The Fisher Pavilion has won many architectural awards, including: the (American Institute of Architects (AIA)/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, 2003; a Business Week/Architectural Record Award, 2004; a featured building in the AIA Seattle's exhibition: "What Makes It Green," 2003; a Sustainable Building Award in the Seattle Business & Industry Resource Venture BEST Award program, 2003; an Honor Award from the AIA, Washington State Council, Civic Design Awards, 2003; a Merit Award in the AIA, Seattle Chapter's Honor Awards for Washington Architecture, 2002; a Commendation Award from the Seattle Design Commission, 2001; and a Citation Award from the AIA, Seattle Chapter, 2001.

Tel: 206.684.7200 (2014).

PCAD id: 19186