Client: City of Edmonds
Location: Edmonds, WA, United States
Completion date: 2003
Artwork budget: $118,000
Barker Landscape Architects
Reid Middleton Civil Engineers
The art elements for the Edmonds Waterfront Park are the result of a collaborative design by Reid Middleton Civil Engineers, Barker Landscape Architects, and artist Bruce Myers. The waterfront improvements include 450 feet of integrated cast concrete wave design, sculptural paving and planting beds, bronze inlay, and bronze sea life. The serpentine form of alternating wave pattern creates an engaging landmark spanning the length of the waterfront project. The highly integrated artwork informs the experience of movement along the entire expanse of the seawall, serving as an element of play, and to deepen public involvement with The Salish Sea.
The project is third in a series of waterfront improvements where Myers collaborated with the landscape architect to integrate art into the project infrastructure. Much of the historically industrial waterfront had become vacant, inaccessible and in need of repair. The design objectives included restoring public access to the waterfront, restoring native habitats along the waterfront corridor and making infrastructure improvements that would reclaim the City's connection to the Salish Sea. The design takes into full consideration the structural, environmental and cultural context for creating a bulkhead and beach access that is mindful of the marine habitats, enhances the connection to place and promotes environmental stewardship. As a collaborative team, working on this phase of the waterfront parks was a culmination of all our prior efforts, the scale of which would transform the public's experience of the site. The artwork unfolds, its form rooted in the ephemeral context of the saltwater environment. Changes in light, water, storm-driven sand and touch interact in a way that captivates the user experience. Our objective became the art of transforming the site, creating a place for people to restore their connection to nature and each other.
Bruce Myers worked closely with the design team and the City of Edmonds Parks Department to identify opportunities for integrating art that would address the length of the waterfront, considering materials, methods, hard surfaces and amenities that would benefit from being enhanced sculpturally. Our approach to integrating art would become a multi-layered and seamless expression of discovery, cultural destination and the ecology of place.
All of the design elements draw their inspiration from nature. The wave pattern, developed by the artist into 24 feet of repeating architectural pattern, was created from ancient wave formations collected by the artist. "The alternating design would frame the length of the project; concrete sidewalks would be sandblasted to create texture and continuity of line, pavers assembled with sculptural inlay would define a sequence of the elemental unfolding throughout. Sculptural planting beds created opportunities to integrate native grasses, boulders, sculptural drain grates and bronze sea life contributing to a unified pallet of form. Our collaboration developed over the course of 9 years. There was a confidence in the art.. that the art and design would support each other and the focused efforts of the many people involved."
The concept of renewal embodies the Edmonds Waterfront project; art is no longer an isolated object, it is the ubiquitous expression of form that is central to the aesthetic of environmental restoration and creating a restorative place for public interaction with the natural world. Time and the ephemeral are captured in the art of place.