The PACCAR Pavilion and Gates Amphitheater
At the park’s edge, the luminous glass-and-steel PACCAR Pavilion provides space for art, performances, a café and educational programming. Envisioned as an extension of the landscape, the pavilion overlooks the park, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The light-filled pavilion links indoor and outdoor spaces with a series of cantilevered roofs and stepped terraces. The terraces form the green outdoor Gates Amphitheater, providing a setting for performances, films and quiet contemplation.
The Landforms and the Z Path
The land masses composing the park were sculpted with more than 260,000 cubic yards of earth. The 2,200- foot crushed stone path links all sections of the park. Its gradual descent from the pavilion to the water’s edge zig-zags to focus on three radically different views.
The first stretch connects the pavilion to a point suspended over Elliott Avenue, focusing on views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliott Bay. The path’s second leg , directly aligned with Mount Rainier, provides views to the city and port. The final stretch descends from the BNSF railroad bridge to the new beach. This continuous path connects a series of distinct landscapes and settings for art, and can be reached from several park entrances . Alexander Calder’s monumental The Eagle (1971) marks the park’s mid point and provides a dramatic focal point for visitors.
Two bridges, which merge with the continuous Z path, create striking locations to contemplate the art, city and bay. Elliott Bridge, with its dramatic V shape, features a series of continuous concrete seats that provide places to relax, read and enjoy the view. The BNSF Bridge, rising 26 feet above the train tracks, provides a stretch of lawn and concrete steps. Teresita Fernández’s art installation, Cloud Cover (2004-06), a laminated glass walkway, covers the south path over the tracks.
From the project’s beginning, a major goal was to integrate native plants and sculptured soils to create natural drainage on the site. To that end, dense native vegetation now helps retain rainfall above the soil surface. Native plants are the most visible part of the restoration effort and re-establish a landscape progression from upland to shoreline in four distinct precincts: Valley, Grove, Meadows and Shore.
Learn more about the landscape of the precincts.