Memory is a slippery devil, darting in and out of the mind’s shadows as we travel ahead in only one direction in time. In March, I found myself back in Seattle, a place where I spent the last years of the last century. Walking the streets that used to be familiar, going back to my alma mater, set off the odd flash: of shuffling to class on a clear day and seeing Mt. Rainier, cherry blossoms on the Quad, Smashing Pumpkins at KeyArena.
I never kept journals so many details escaped, but now I sort of store some memories in my work. Seeing again the verdigrised Suzzallo chandeliers (look at them!) ended up inspiring a patina finish. A small imprint that remains after the encounter has passed.
Casualty of time: UW’s old nuclear reactor building is no more. I remember peering inside, cupping my hands around my eyes to get a better look. It was a small Brutalist form that seemed to lean forward into the future, alas the weathered concrete is now history (despite preservation efforts led by Abby Inpanbutr, who took this pre-demolition photo).
UW’s crown jewel, Suzzallo Library Graduate Reading Room, pronounced to be the most beautiful on the continent.
Gothic and romance: Miller Hall (complete with gargoyles) and the iconic sakura in the Quad at UW. For almost 90 years the trees have stood, silent witnesses of time and memory, unfazed and tenacious in spite of the looming end of their hundred-year lifespan.
Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle’s most polarizing architectural statement, which I was visiting for the first time. Frank Gehry’s signature metal cladding always reminded me of the pangolin’s skin.
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