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photo of New Occidental Park Pavilion Designed by Olson Kundig Opens in Pioneer Square

New Occidental Park Pavilion Designed by Olson Kundig Opens in Pioneer Square


On June 9, a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of the new Occidental Park Pavilion in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. Olson Kundig joined general contractor Schuchart, as well as project donors and representatives from the Seattle Parks Foundation, Pioneer Square Alliance, Downtown Seattle Association and Seattle Parks Department for the celebration of this new public amenity.

The Occidental Park Pavilion features a 30-by-90-foot glass canopy supported by heavy timber beams and slender steel columns, a welcome covered space in an environment known for year-round rain. The pavilion also includes a 200-square-foot kiosk for the park concierge made of timber and designed to open and close vertically like a jewel chest. The kiosk is transparent at eye-level, maintaining 360-degree sightlines for the concierge, while the canopy height is scaled to avoid interrupting views through the park. The canopy also takes a cue from the established 17-foot height shared by all the historic brick buildings in the surrounding district. Spearhead, a timber specialist based in Nelson, BC, prefabricated and tested the steel and wood canopy structure and kiosk in their workshop before disassembling the components for transport to the site in Occidental Square.

“The history of Pioneer Square is so rich,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in her remarks at the ribbon-cutting celebration. “The land blessing reminds us that we stand on the lands of the Duwamish people, but we also remember that Seattle has come back from hard and tragic times before. …We are here today to allow us to really turn our attention to rebirth, reopening and recovering as a city.”

The pavilion will be managed by the Seattle Parks Foundation and programmed by the Pioneer Square Alliance and Downtown Seattle Association, supporting key goals of the larger revitalization project that seeks to re-establish Occidental Park as an urban place within the community. The pavilion has been gifted to the Seattle Parks Department, with an endowment for its ongoing maintenance.

This is a tremendously significant project, for me personally and for Olson Kundig, as well as the City of Seattle. The history of Pioneer Square is long and complex, from the First Nations cultures who originally settled here to the timber industry that later shaped the region. This pavilion draws on those influences and introduces a new amenity and place of shelter for every visitor to the park. Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Principal
Occidental Park Pavilion, Seattle, Washington, USA

Design Principal: Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
Principal: Edward Lalonde
Project Manager/Project Architect: Simon Clews
Architectural Staff: Julia Khorsand, Connor Irick and Megan Quinn
Gizmologist: Phil Turner
General Contractor: Schuchart
Timber Specialist & Fabricator: Spearhead Timberworks
Structural Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions
Civil Engineer: MIG
Lighting Design: Niteo
Envelope: RDH Building Sciences
Accessibility: Studio Pacifica
Gizmo Design Consultant: KB Architectural Services