City of Seattle Selects james corner field operations as Lead Designer for the Central Waterfront

21 09 2010

Selecting from a field of four internationally renowned firms, the City of Seattle today announced that the award-winning james corner field operations will serve as the lead designer for Seattle’s new Central Waterfront. Known for its innovative thinking, context based design and effective public engagement, james corner field operations will help Seattle take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“From a group of highly qualified finalists, the City of Seattle has chosen james corner field operations to help create our waterfront of the future,” said Peter Hahn, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “I’m pleased our rigorous selection process delivered a team with international experience, local expertise, a strong ability to develop active civic spaces and a reputation for visionary design.”

The upcoming removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct provides Seattle a unique opening to redesign the Central Waterfront and reestablish the connection to Elliott Bay. This opportunity, which garnered significant national and international design interest, will result in more than nine acres of new waterfront public space and a new surface street.   

“The field operations team brings the passion that is needed to create a dynamic people place for Seattle,” said Diane Sugimura, director of the Seattle Department of Planning and Development. “Their goal is to create a new ‘heart’ for the city!”

Founded by James Corner in 1998, james corner field operations is a leading-edge landscape architecture/urban design practice known for strong contemporary design across many project types and scales. While the firm’s signature project is the High Line in New York City, other key projects include:  Fresh Kills Lifescape, Staten Island, NY; Qianhai Water City, Shenzhen, China; Lake Ontario Park, Toronto; North Delaware Riverfront Master Plan, Philadelphia; and Shelby Farms Park, Memphis, Tennessee. The firm won the 2010 National Design Award for landscape design and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2010 Honor Award for the High Line. 

“In james corner we have selected a design firm that truly understands how to create dramatic public spaces where people want to gather,” said Christopher Williams, acting superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The firm was one of four finalists that presented on September 15 to nearly 1,300 attendees at Benaroya Hall. There Seattleites learned about field operations’ skills, experience and approach to the waterfront project. The team’s presentation and a video of the entire event are available on-line at:   

james corner field operations was selected from 30 teams that responded to the City’s Central Waterfront Request for Qualifications for Urban Design/Public Space Design. The City will select the project manager and engineering team for the Central Waterfront project next week. Design  work will begin in October 2010 with a conceptual design expected in 2012 and a final design to be delivered in 2015. Construction is scheduled from 2016 to 2018.

The full list of design team members (with an asterisk indicating local firms) is:

james corner field operations
SHoP Architects
The Berger Partnership*
HR&A Advisors
Jason Toft*
ETM Associates
Mark Dion
Creative Time




One response

6 10 2011
Exciting Times for Riverfront and Waterfront Design! | River Life

[…] Cristina Bump, winner of an AIA Travel Scholarship and a designer with Mithun in Seattle, reports that the City of Seattle has selected james corner field operation as the lead designer for the Seattle waterfront. […]

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