Rain Catchers

Submitted by Bruce Myers

0

Client: City of Bellevue

Location: Bellevue, WA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $118,000

Project Team

Planting Plan

Scott MacDonald

City of Bellevue Public Art program

Art Integration

Dale Cummings

King County Metro

Consultant

Nicolas Morin

Barker Landscape Architecture

Community Engagement

Tom Kuykendall

Urban Boulevards

Overview

Rain Catchers celebrate the Newport Hills Town Center revitalization by returning to the community’s roots as a place among nature. The stainless steel Big Leaf Maple and Alder leaves catch rainwater while also serving as a landmark and neighborhood identifier. The art installation reinforces stewardship as a shared identity of the community and enhances public use of the boulevard and Metro Transit hub.

Myers worked closely with the City, Urban Boulevards, Parks, King County Metro, and the Newport Hills community to create an artwork that serves as a local landmark and destination. Bruce’s creative process engaged the public and stakeholders throughout the design and fabrication of the Neighborhood Identity project. In addition to the free-standing Rain Catcher, two Metro Bus Shelters enhanced with boulder seating areas, Maple and Alder rain catchers, and forged fronds, signal our attention to both the environments around us and above. The art elements invite the public to engage with the installation while improving upon the experience of arrival, wayfinding, and discovery.

Goals

The City of Bellevue Public Art Program and Urban Boulevards selected Bruce Myers to revitalize the Newport Hills streetscape by instilling a renewed sense of neighborhood identity for the town center. Art elements inspired by the local landscape have transformed the user experience of arrival, activate the public spaces, and expanded the Metro hub stations' use. The City, in conjunction with the art installation, replaced and expanded plantings along Newport Way to create a pallet that is distinctly Northwest. Rain Catchers creates strong connections to nature, establishes a renewed sense of place, engages the public with the concept of urban watersheds and their stewardship. The city council heralded the project as an ideal example of art and an art plan that contributes to their vision of increased livability and integrating public art into the City.

Process

Myers worked closely with the City, the Bellevue Public Art Program, Parks, and Urban Boulevards to present concepts for placemaking and neighborhood identity along Newport Way. The local landscape, water, and environmental stewardship became the primary focal points for designing art elements to revitalize the town center. As the lead for the project, Myers developed the art plan in conjunction with the City's neighborhood outreach. Myers worked independently with King County Metro to integrate art elements for the Metro shelters and coordinate structural integration and installation by Metro. Bruce's work included extensive research into the Metro shelters' use, incorporating community involvement throughout the creative process, design development, fabrication, and installation of the project. The City's final construction documents created a unified landscape planting plan for the boulevard that brings improvements to over two blocks of the streetscape along Newport Way.

Additional Information

My research of the site revealed that people like to use the entire block while waiting for the Metro; some prefer to stand behind the shelter, while others sit in them, and students from two schools adjacent to Newport Way frequent the town center. My art plan reflects these pedestrian patterns by providing the boulder seating elements adjacent to the shelters, behind, and integrated into the new planting plan along the boulevard. It was a huge success. Stone mosaics enhance the story of place, and people started using the boulder seating as I placed them in the landscape. I would no more than install one and start another to find someone perched on the glacial erratics.