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The Best of Brutalism: Freeway Park
Brutalist architecture looks ugly. Exposed concrete and featureless slabs. Boring, but obtrusively so. The architectural equivalent of a cinderblock pillow.
Brutalist architecture looks powerful. Massive, fortress-like structures. Comfort and frivolity doesn’t belong here—only cold, solid strength.
Brutalist architecture looks iconic. Gray giants imposing themselves into whatever landscape they happen to dominate. Honest. Anti-bourgeois. Unapologeticly present.
The best of Seattle’s brutalist architecture appears downtown. Freeway Park, built across and above I-5, mixes brutalism with green space. It’s a strange, memorable mix.
The 5.2-acre park first opened July 4, 1976. The park is recognized as “a masterwork of a modernist master,” and proponents of the idea to “cap” I-5 point to Freeway Park as an example of what Seattle could have instead of the loud, unsightly gash between Downtown and First Hill.
The park’s best feature, and it’s most loved: its fountain. Photographers have captured and recaptured Seattle’s surprising blend of brutalism and nature, and the result always stuns me.
Brutalist architecture looks beautiful.