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Gustafson Guthrie Nichol | Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens

Urban Design Gustafson Guthrie Nichol | Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol | Theater Commons and Donnelly GardensSeattle-based landscape architects Gustafson

Guthrie Nichol (GGN) are pleased to announce that THEATER COMMONS and DONNELLY GARDENS at Seattle Center has become one of four pilot projects newly certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) for its sustainable site design, construction and maintenance. They join 11 other projects nationally that have received certification since January 2012. Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens has been recognized by SITES, an interdisciplinary effort led by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden. SITES is a voluntary, national rating system for sustainable landscapes of all types, with or without buildings. Certification is based on The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Benchmarks 2009.

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol | Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens

© Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

In May 2010, Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens was one of more than 150 national and international projects to be chosen by the SITES partners to assess a rating system and comprehensive guidelines. Today, only 15 out of 150 projects have been certified by SITES, and Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens is currently the only project located in Washington State. “Gustafson Guthrie Nichol should be proud of this achievement. The firm’s dedication to the environment and supporting public/private partnerships will benefit our community far into the future,” states Seattle’s Mayor Mike McGinn. “GGN’s design approach helps support Seattle Center as a public destination for experiencing innovative, urban water stewardship and sustainable landscapes.”

About Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens
Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens is an area of Seattle Center, a 74-acre urban park and cultural arts center located in downtown Seattle. GGN’s design transformed a 1.6 acre parking lot, service road, and isolated lawn area into a welcoming, green and pedestrian-focused entry for the Seattle Center campus. The site is used on a regular basis by visitors, staff and theater patrons, and during the many outdoor festivals that Seattle Center hosts. “We are thrilled and honored that the Theater Commons project is one of the first nationally — and the first in Washington State — to be certified under the SITES Pilot Program. The project reflects strong values at Seattle Center around environmental stewardship and serves as a model for sustainable design and function in an urban landscape,” said Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams.

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol | Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol | Theater Commons and Donnelly GardensAmong the specific sustainable design benchmarks met by Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens are:

- Development of a simple, replicable, and affordable precedent for sustainable pedestrian streets at Seattle Center.
– Bio-retention gardens and evaporation gardens that collect run-off from both the nonpermeable site surfaces and the adjacent theater roof.
–  Seizing on the site’s high visibility and public access to showcase sustainable design with educational outreach activities and interpretive signage.
– A regional native plant garden that was designed, selected, and installed by Seattle
Center landscaping/gardening staff. In a unique collaborative process, GGN led the conceptual design and sustainable concepts in the planting design and then Seattle Center staff selected the plant palette, layout, and did the planting.

The Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens project team members are:
–  Seattle Center Redevelopment, Client
–  Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Landscape Architecture
– Weinstein AU, Architecture
–  Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering
–  Pivotal Lighting/ AEI Engineers, Lighting and Electrical Engineering

Location: Seattle Center, USA
Architect: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Photos: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
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