Robert Maki
Westlake Star Axis/Seven Hills
1988

LOCATION
Westlake Park
401 Pine St.

FUNDING SOURCE
Department of Parks and Recreation Forward Thrust 1% for Art funds; Parks Department construction budget for Westlake Park


Robert Maki, working with landscape architect Robert Hanna, created a design program to unite the triangular space of Westlake Park. Lying at the intersection of five major thoroughfares, the park occupies a central space in the city. This makes it an apt location for artworks and architectural components that evoke both local history and geography.

At the north end of the park, a 24-foot-high stone proscenium arch evocative of Roman municipal monuments acts as a speaker's platform with a set of three large stairs that provide seating. Next to the arch, a fountain creates a 64-foot-long wall of water cascading around steel ramps that allow visitors to walk through the center of the spray. To the south, a series of artworks including a pink granite column and six cubic pieces allude to Seattle's original seven hills. The column also acts as a figurative point of origin reinforced by an angled vertical slot carved into the stone which creates a line of sight down Westlake Avenue to Lake Union. A stand of 24 trees is located in the middle of the park.

For Maki, the precise angles created by the sculptural elements, running either parallel or perpendicular to the adjacent streets, are important to the meaning of the overall design. Depending on where visitors to the park stand, their relationship to the multiple sight lines and angles creates a shifting field of vision, allowing for new configurations of the park's sculptural elements and the surrounding cityscape. Maki and Hanna's design program is anchored by granite pavers that echo the angular designs of a Salish Indian basket weave pattern.