Daily digest: LMN completes U District Station in Seattle, Burning Man partners with Sotheby’s, and more

Above And Below

Daily digest: LMN completes U District Station in Seattle, Burning Man partners with Sotheby’s, and more

The concrete-and-steel above-ground vestibule welcoming travelers to the U District Station (Adam Hunter/LMN Architects)

Good morning and welcome back to another news roundup at the midweek, with the stories to help you get through to the weekend.

Here’s what you need to know today:

LMN Architects completes the U District light rail station in Seattle

LMN Architects has announced the opening of the U District Station in Seattle, one of three new light rail stations to debut last weekend (along with a freeway-spanning pedestrian bridge) as part of Sound Transit’s 4.3-mile-long Northgate Link Extension project. The neighboring University of Washington Station, completed in 2016 as part of the University Link Extension project, was also designed by LMN.

The 105,000-square-foot station sits primarily below grade with only a glass-topped awning and accompanying wayfinding indicating the entrance at street level, but below ground, commuters are met with multistory ceiling heights to lend a sense of airiness to traveling underground. Colorful overhead tubes serve as wayfinding to help passengers reach their destination as quickly and easily as possible. The new station is expected to serve thousands of riders every day. The other two stations to open as part of the Northgate Link Extension are Roosevelt and Northgate, the latter of which now serves as the northern terminus of Seattle’s (currently) single-line light rail system. Both were designed by HEWITT.

Burning Man teams up with Sotheby’s for a charity auction to shore up funds

Desert art festival Burning Man has had to forgo in-person events for two years in a row now thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and now organizers have partnered with Sotheby’s to help shore up the event’s finances. Through Friday, October 8, the auction house has installed work from more than 200 Burning Man artists at its headquarters in New York, with everything available for purchase (including a Cadillac Sedan DeVille converted into a “mutant vehicle” up for $50,000). The exhibition, Boundless Space… The Possibilities of Burning Man is being accompanied by dance parties, talks, and accompanying music to bring the festival’s spirit to the Manhattan gallery.

H/t to Artnet News

Shelly Lowe nominated to chair the National Endowment for the Humanities

President Biden has nominated Shelly Lowe to chair the National Endowment for the Humanities, potentially making her only the second woman, and first Native American, to do so. The federal cultural agency supports the programs in the arts and cultural across the country, most famously through its grants program.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be nominated by President Biden to serve as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Lowe in a press release announcing her nomination. “My time serving on the National Council on the Humanities has been immensely rewarding, and I look forward to continuing to serve and advance the humanities in this new role. Ensuring the American people have access to humanities institutions, resources, and programs is absolutely critical in addressing the challenges of the 21st century.”

Alabama is rerouting hundreds of millions in COVID funds to build new prisons

Alabama is going on a prison construction spree and using federal funds meant for COVID relief to do so. On Friday, October 1, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law a bill authorizing $1.3 billion towards the construction of at least two new prisons in the state, a response to a 2020 Department of Justice lawsuit alleging inhumane conditions in Alabama’s prisons. However, $400 million of that total will come from federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan, which is meant to make up for economic activity lost during the pandemic. Despite facing widespread criticism from the public and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Ivey has defended the move as an appropriate use of the money, saying that it’s going toward filling a gap that would have otherwise been covered by tax revenue.

H/t to Construction Dive

New York City will spend $170 million restoring a Chinatown building destroyed by fire last year

70 Mulberry Street, a historic Chinatown building holding more than 85,000 artifacts for the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) that was badly damaged by a fire in January of 2020, is getting a new lease on life. Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $170 million plan to restore the structure and facade but to also add two stories to the building to strengthen the community groups that will return after construction is complete. After the fire, the city formed the 70 Mulberry Advisory Committee with consultants from 3×3 Design to help guide the building’s restoration and determine how to improve it in the process. The full list of recommendations can be viewed here, but include:

  • Over 50,000 square feet of space to return tenants
  • A new gymnasium to provide recreation space to the community
  • Over 6,500 square feet of additional office and tenant spaces
  • Building enhances to ensure greater accessibility, including an elevator