Had a good look at the Gate to Nowhere yet? After months of planning by a local group called Re-Collective, this urban art work is right here in Montlake — visible from the shore near Lake Washington Blvd, but even better from a canoe, kayak or row boat. It’s a temporary installation on an arch of one of the Ramps to Nowhere near the Arboretum. Re-Collective members designed it to commemorate the successful 1968 citizens campaign to stop the R. H. Thompson Freeway from bisecting Seattle from north to south, while destroying hundreds of homes and neighborhoods, including Montlake.
Two recently published articles give you a good idea of the story behind the historic citizen campaign and recent installation effort (The UW Daily, 7-16-14), and the importance of the design work as abstract expression (Designboom, 7-04-14). Here is how The UW Daily’s Danielle Palmer-Friedman described the installation and its purpose:
“One ramp’s support arch is now covered in reflective acrylic. This mirrored surface is designed to gently speak out against the removal of the ramps and was engineered by a group of former UW students that goes by the name of Re-Collective. This art installation, the “Gate to Nowhere,” was engineered over the course of a year to draw attention to the beauty and importance of a place so greatly used, which now waits to be so casually destroyed.”
See the full story here.
And here is how the international design publication, Designboom, wrote about the artistic elements of the work:
“For the public project, the architecture-artist group has wrapped a single support pier in acrylic mirror with stainless steel strapping to to reflect images of water trees, and air against its brutalist form. The perceived effect is a distorted representation of the surroundings into abstract forms, varying dramatically in accordance with the amount of sunlight, weather conditions, and time of day. Furthering the manipulation is the water below, whose form constantly ripples and undulates as animals, trees, and other forces of nature disrupt its condition. The designers encourage passage through the gate by means of a boat.”
See the complete piece with photos here.
The entire ramp on which the installation arch appears is slated for demolition by WSDOT starting this Fall, so don’t delay in getting over to appreciate this special one-of-a-kind wonder.
Re-Collective’s project team included Caroline Davis, Abby Inpanbutr, Greg Lewis, JJ Powell, and Montlake residents Bojana Ostojic and Rainer Metzger.