RAINIER VISTA
University of Washington, Seattle, WA (2007–2008)
Rainier Vista, designed by the Olmsted Brothers for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, is the iconic backbone of the University of Washington campus, and one of the finest formal landscapes in the country. The sublime, framed view of Mount Rainier remains as breathtaking as it always has been, but the physical landscape of the Vista foreground has become degraded over time and no longer meets the infrastructural needs of the campus.

MVVA’s conceptual plan for the future of the Vista landscape aims to clarify the historic Olmsted vision while integrating the twin contemporary ideas of sustainability and multi-modal transit. The plan incorporates a proposed light rail transit station on the campus edge, a regional bike trail, and multiple bus routes, while ensuring that the pedestrian would be given priority at all times. MVVA also worked with a civil and sustainability consultant to embed a stormwater capture, cleansing, storage, and irrigation system beneath a major portion of the Vista. This sustainable technology is expressed through a series of terraced wetland gardens marking the entrance to the university and in the historic Drumheller Fountain, which will pump captured stormwater 100 feet into the air.
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