This P-I piece by their architecture critic talks about the interesting way architecture in Link stations and there’s a companion piece by the P-I’s art critic on Sound Transit’s public art program, “STart”. The two pieces are accompanied by a beautiful gallery of photos of the various art installations and station architecture. If you don’t know, Sound Transit spends one percent of non-tunnel capital expenditures on public art, which means all 1% of the amount spent on constructing tracks, elevated segments, park-and-rides and Sounder and Links stations is spent on public art.
In net, it’s a good thing, and the authors of the two pieces agree. Regina Hacket, the art critic calls Sound Transit’s art program “phenomenally effective”. On architecture, Lawrence Cheek of the first pieces speaking about the Link stations “they are colorful, richly detailed and considerate of human scale. Some seem likely to become emblems of their neighborhoods, and the whole system may speak well of Seattle”. Great.
Some of the art is really awesome and has won awards, some of it makes people – as Martin put it – “mad beyond reason” (I guess the one thing the 43rd democrats have in common with Tim Eyman is that neither likes Sound Transit’s art). I don’t like all of it, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not nice having it.
The art I like the best is the series of temporary pieces at the corner of Broadway and John in the buildings that will soon be torn down for the Capitol Hill station. It puts what otherwise would be a dead space on the street to some use, and it gives local artists an audience that might otherwise not ever see their art. Some of them are really great, and engage the passer-by, especially at night, see the image above.
I haven’t had a chance to judge all of the architecture of Link, but I have been in the Tukwila station a few times, and I love it. It looks great from the outside, and inside it’s a wonderful monument to transit. The other big station concepts are the Mount Baker station and the Beacon Hill station, neither of which I have been in, though here are some early photos of the Mount Baker station.
In all, I think that Sound Transit has built a really attractive system, and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the system will look like, especially the underground stations.