written by:
photos by:
November 1, 2010

One of the highlights of my trip to Seattle was taking an early morning photo jog from downtown over to—and through—the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park. Designed by Weiss/Manfredi and completed in January 2007, the park mitigates the 40-vertical-foot difference between the residential neighborhood along Western Avenue and the waterfront below. The zig-zagging design is speckled with sculptures by artists like Alexander Calder and Richard Serra and earlier this year earned our approval as a city park "Done Right."

I approached the park from the south, jogging past the Edgewater Hotel and Port of Seattle along Alaskan Way, and entered at the southwest corner, with the slope—and the Space Needle—to my left.
I approached the park from the south, jogging past the Edgewater Hotel and Port of Seattle along Alaskan Way, and entered at the southwest corner, with the slope—and the Space Needle—to my left.
Photo by 
1 / 12
The train continued along the water and the Elliot Bay Trail, which leads to—and through—Myrtle Edwards Park. The park comprises four representative Northwest landscapes, the lowest being the Shore.
The train continued along the water and the Elliot Bay Trail, which leads to—and through—Myrtle Edwards Park. The park comprises four representative Northwest landscapes, the lowest being the Shore.
Photo by 
2 / 12
A ways down the path, I turned back to admire Mark di Suvero's <i>Schubert Sonata</a> sculpture, constructed in 1992 out of painted and unpainted steel.
A ways down the path, I turned back to admire Mark di Suvero's Schubert Sonata sculpture, constructed in 1992 out of painted and unpainted steel.
Photo by 
3 / 12
Turning to my right and up the path, I ascended up the path to the outlook toward downtown Seattle. Below the cantilevered viewing platform are Louise Bourgeois's <i>Eye Benches</i> as well as her <i>Father and Son</i> fountain.
Turning to my right and up the path, I ascended up the path to the outlook toward downtown Seattle. Below the cantilevered viewing platform are Louise Bourgeois's Eye Benches as well as her Father and Son fountain.
Photo by 
4 / 12
Turning around to continue on my—at this point—photo walk, I stood under the <i>Seattle Cloud Cover</i> by Teresita Fernández for protection from the light mist. The laminated glass artwork extends across the bridge that leads pedestrians over the railroa
Turning around to continue on my—at this point—photo walk, I stood under the Seattle Cloud Cover by Teresita Fernández for protection from the light mist. The laminated glass artwork extends across the bridge that leads pedestrians over the railroad below. The graphic design distorts the scenery behind the artwork but offers moments of clarity through the clear circles printed in a grid throughout.
Photo by 
5 / 12
After crossing the bridge, I arrived on the Meadows, a section of the park planted with native grasses and flowers. Though it is here that Alexander Calder's <i>Eagle</i> proudly stands, the bright-red chairs set along the path is what caught my eye the m
After crossing the bridge, I arrived on the Meadows, a section of the park planted with native grasses and flowers. Though it is here that Alexander Calder's Eagle proudly stands, the bright-red chairs set along the path is what caught my eye the most—especially those placed looking out toward the Puget Sound and with their backs to the aged-yet-still-iconic Space Needle.
Photo by 
6 / 12
Just after the next turn in the Z-path, a small path cuts off to the left. I've always been fascinated by walkways and and glad I followed my curiosity down this lane.
Just after the next turn in the Z-path, a small path cuts off to the left. I've always been fascinated by walkways and and glad I followed my curiosity down this lane.
Photo by 
7 / 12
The little path lead down to the Valley, the section of the park meant to represent the forests of the Northwest and their fir, cedar, and ferns.
The little path lead down to the Valley, the section of the park meant to represent the forests of the Northwest and their fir, cedar, and ferns.
Photo by 
8 / 12
Once entering the top of the valley, the path forked again and offered a walk to the right toward the PACCAR Pavilion or steps straight ahead to Richard Serra's <i>Wake</i> installation. I first turned right, captivated by Beverly Pepper's sculpture title
Once entering the top of the valley, the path forked again and offered a walk to the right toward the PACCAR Pavilion or steps straight ahead to Richard Serra's Wake installation. I first turned right, captivated by Beverly Pepper's sculpture titled Perre's Ventaglio III and made of stainless steel and enamel in 1967. Here you can see the pavilion in the background.
Photo by 
9 / 12
Next, I turned back, hopped down the stairs to the base of the Valley and wandered through Serra's gigantic sculpture. The focused views ahead and upward combined the sensations of being lost in a forest and squeezed between the towering building of a cit
Next, I turned back, hopped down the stairs to the base of the Valley and wandered through Serra's gigantic sculpture. The focused views ahead and upward combined the sensations of being lost in a forest and squeezed between the towering building of a city.
Photo by 
10 / 12
Under protection of the cantilevered roof of the PACCAR Pavilion, it was again the red chairs on the stepped, outdoor amphitheater—as well as Calder's sculpture that matched—that caught my attention. From the distance, Serra's sculpture appears much small
Under protection of the cantilevered roof of the PACCAR Pavilion, it was again the red chairs on the stepped, outdoor amphitheater—as well as Calder's sculpture that matched—that caught my attention. From the distance, Serra's sculpture appears much smaller.
Photo by 
11 / 12
Finally I arrived at the top of the park on corner of Western Avenue and Broad Street. Although I could have spent all day examining the many corners of the twisty-turvy park, the weather made me happy to leave. Before you visit the park yourself, visit t
Finally I arrived at the top of the park on corner of Western Avenue and Broad Street. Although I could have spent all day examining the many corners of the twisty-turvy park, the weather made me happy to leave. Before you visit the park yourself, visit the Seattle Art Museum's wonderful website for a tour of the sculptures on view and print out this map of what you'll see to take with you. Happy Trails.
Photo by 
12 / 12
I approached the park from the south, jogging past the Edgewater Hotel and Port of Seattle along Alaskan Way, and entered at the southwest corner, with the slope—and the Space Needle—to my left.
I approached the park from the south, jogging past the Edgewater Hotel and Port of Seattle along Alaskan Way, and entered at the southwest corner, with the slope—and the Space Needle—to my left.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

in the mix antwerp belgium warehouse renovation live work space lounge area cushions dining table kitchenette borge mogensen cabinets
An artist and an architect build their home, studios, and an exhibition space inside an Antwerp warehouse.
February 13, 2016
senses sight products kinetic wire sculpture alexander calder mobile
A phenomenon of light and visual perception, colors signal a language of their own.
February 13, 2016
beach weathered seaside retreat sagaponack new york pine walls aluminum furniture
Balancing texture, proportion, and found objects lends unexpected sophistication to a seaside retreat.
February 13, 2016
Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016