Cowen Park

Seattle, WA, 2004

The site of this concept proposal is in Cowen Park, a primarily large meadow with a forested edge. The meadow was built over Ravenna Creek, which once ran from Green Lake through Cowen Park into Ravenna Park and on into Portage Bay. This design aims at reclaiming Ravenna Creek at Cowen Park.

Uses include providing habitat for the Rufous Hummingbird and the Brown Bat – as well as conveying a teachable moment of natural processes to park visitors.

The concept is based on reclaiming Ravenna creek with an emphasis on showing the inter-relationship of time and human intervention on the landscape.

Two mechanical elements, consisting of steel walls above a turf trench are skived into the meadow to reclaim the creek. The steel walls, canted similar to stadium bleachers, are planted with a monoculture of red azaleas – which provide habitat for the Rufous Hummingbird. Over time, however, without maintenance, the steel walls begin to develop other forms of vegetation, such as Himalayan Blackberry, Red Alder and Douglas Fir. The biomass accumulation adds weight on the hinged and pressure-loaded walls – which then begin to collapse and seat into water-sheathed niches in the ground. To provide habitat for the Brown Bat; bat boxes are placed under the pedestrian bridges that cross the creek.