Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Seeing Daylight

The idea of daylighting streams is compelling as an urban intervention - unearthing the natural drainage from the buried pipes and. A new project from Seattle offers a unique vision of the potential in action. Some background: "A large, paved lot once devoted to overflow mall traffic and RV parking has been replaced with a landscaped, open space that allows the beginnings of Thornton Creek to flow above ground for the first time in decades. Before, a large underground pipe diverted the water to an outfall several blocks away. This project now lets water in the creek's south fork flow as it should above ground and nourish its new stream bed before exiting under Fifth Avenue Northeast into the existing creek."

:: image via The Seattle Times

The design, adjacent to Thornton Place, was completed for Seatle Public Utilities and the great Seattle firm SvR Design which has a history of innovative work in the region. For more, check out Lisa Town's coverage on inspiration wall for some additional views and details of the project - including this site plan.

:: Site Plan - image via inspiration wall

This reminds me of another innovative project in done by GreenWorks, (fyi, the firm I work for) at the Headwaters at Tryon Creek which daylighted a stretch of urban stream in Southwest Portland - the first project of its kind in the area. I will post some details of this project soon. For parting, a multi-media resource via the Seattle Times is this video showing the Thornton Creek project details in full, living color. This one is pretty inspirational.


  1. since this kind of vision is more expensive than a parking lot - I hope in the present economic downturn that we continue moving towards landscapes that help humanity rather than just the bottom line.

  2. thanks for the love, jason. next time you're up here, we'd love to get some of the folks who worked on it to give you a tour.


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