4th & 5th Avenue Bridge & Corridor
"From the Laws of Man to the Laws of Nature"
Planning for the design of the 4th/5th Avenue Corridor Project began in 1999, when the Corridor Vision Advisory Committee met to determine what criteria should be addressed in the redesign of the area, as well as the process for choosing an artist to work with the design team in realizing those criteria. Twenty-one applications were received, and once the jury process was complete, the opportunity was awarded to T. Ellen Sollod of Seattle. Her strong background in public art and urban design is enhanced by her experience working on design teams. The project was originally set for a much longer time line, but when the 2001 Nisqually earthquake made the bridge unusable, the plan was stepped up.
Seattle artist T. Ellen Sollod was commissioned through the City's Public Art Program, to create a visually dynamic environment that engaged pedestrians and reflected community values. Ms. Sollod's close observation of the contrast between the natural environment of Budd Inlet and structured elements of the bridge and Capitol campus led to the design concept "From the Laws of Man to the Laws of Nature." These themes contrast and balance one another through the bridge overlook mosaics, storm water rivulet and the roundabouts. Formal, geometric patterns reflect the "Laws of Man" while organic, irregular shapes characterize the "Laws of Nature." For example, the rivulet which carries storm water from the bridge begins in the east with flat, tailored paving stones. As the rivulet moves west across the bridge, the stones become progressively more rounded and natural. This transition illustrates the presence of both the wild and the structured facets of our physical space. The lower roundabout with its terrazzo wall and fiber optic lighting directs your view to the Capitol beyond, while the Harrison Street roundabout's dry stack stone wall orients the viewer to Budd Inlet and Mt. Rainier. Just as the Capitol dome defines Olympia as the seat of state government, this aesthetically designed bridge, with its integrated art, identifies our city as a community dedicated to civic values and the natural beauty of this place we call home.