McGraw Square gets a rain-themed makeover

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McGraw Square rendering by Framework
Rendering: Framework

This article was originally published in Curbed Seattle on May 29, 2018.

by Sarah Anne Lloyd

You might not know the name McGraw Square, but if you’ve walked through downtown Seattle, you’ve probably seen it. The small, oddly-shaped city block at Stewart, Westlake, and Olive, surrounded by the Medical-Dental Building, Westlake Center, the Westin Hotel, and an also oddly-shaped Bank of America, is the downtown terminus of the South Lake Union Streetcar. It’s a pretty distinctive pocket of public space, but it hasn’t had much going on—until recently.

Activation to McGraw Square is already in place, with new ground lighting, tables, and rain gardens, plus rain-themed seating: wave benches and waterproof seats shaped like puddles. Spinning chairs shaped like teardrops (also a little like whisks) spin around underneath a shelter designed for bike racks.

Additionally, the park will be staffed with people who can give information or provide resources for other activities, like games (foosball and chess are both present) and reading material.

The project was put together by design firm Framework, Downtown Seattle Association (DSA), Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Praxis Builders, and DCI Engineers. DSA said the theme comes from the park’s history as a rain garden.

Like other park activation projects spearheaded by DSA (like Westlake Park and Occidental Square), the park will include a food truck presence during lunch.

While the changes are already in place—some for months now—the park will have a grand opening celebration to acknowledge them on the morning of Thursday, May 31 from 9:30 to 11.