Tag Archives: Seattle center

Climate Pledge Arena Opening

The arrival of an NHL franchise in Seattle has prompted the rebuild of the Key Arena.  Part of Seattle Center, Key Arena is a pyramid structure.  It did not have the capacity for supporting an NHL franchise so a major rebuild was undertaken.  The roof structure was kept but everything else was rebuilt.  They gutted the place and dug down into the ground to effectively double the capacity of the facility.

It opened in mid October.  There was a pre-opening event with the Foo Fighter playing but the official opening was a Coldplay concert on the Friday followed by the Seattle Kraken home opener on the Saturday.  On the Sunday, they had an open house for people to come and check out the arena.  There was no likelihood of me missing something like that.  However, the weather was not looking great.  They had a market and some bands outside but the rain also decided it wanted to be there.  This was not a problem inside the arena but it did make the outside a bit less appealing.  Still, it was fun to check out the new event space.

The ice hockey arena was open to view rather than covered up for other events.  There were a couple of players working on the ice for a while but it was mostly empty.  The Zamboni machines did come out to polish the ice though.  There are plenty of interesting food and drink spaces around the venue.  Pricing will be what you expect of a sports arena but they did look a lot nicer than you might see at older venues.  The structure of the building has been preserved to some extent and you can see interesting shapes in the roof line.  Outside it is easier to appreciate the old roof structure.  Inside they have all sort of space for lighting and show installations and there is acoustic treatment for the roof to make it work as a concert venue.

It is now renamed the Climate Pledge Arena.  The group that is supporting it is significantly backed by Amazon.  They have designed the location to make use of renewable resources as much as possible and it is supposed to be incredibly environmentally sound.  No doubt that will annoy some people – if you are annoyed by somewhere not polluting somewhere, have a think about your priorities.  The venue already provided good income to the city and the new operators have to provide that income to the city whatever they achieve.  This is a nice change from the usual approach of cities subsidizing major sports franchises.  We shall see how they get on.

What New Shots Can I Get at Chihuly

With new visitors staying, we were back at the Chihuly Museum in Seattle.  Since I had photographed there a few times already, I thought I would take in a different lens and just use that to try and get something different to that which I had shot before.  I took the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with me.  First, the big aperture would be good in the dim conditions.  Second, that wide aperture would allow me to play with some shallow depth of field (the longer reach of the lens helping to enhance that effect) and lastly, that longer focal length would mean I could experiment with tight crops or longer views across galleries.

Here are a few of the shots I got as we walked around the galleries.

Blowing Glass

I have had a recent post about blowing glass from the hot shop at Tacoma.  Prior to that visit, though, we made a trip to the Chihuly Museum in Seattle.  Out in the garden, they have a small hot shop set up based around an Airstream trailer.  They were demonstrating some glass blowing techniques to the visitors and I wandered around looking to get some shots.  It was already pretty dark by the time we were watching so it was a bit tricky getting some shots.  Moreover, the intense contrast between the glow from the ovens and the dim external lighting made things harder to balance.  I just played around to see what I could get.

Chihuly Museum

For the longest time I wasn’t interested in visiting the Chihuly Museum in Seattle. I had seen some glass installations outdoors and the rather bright and garish look of them put me off the idea of seeing the collection. It just didn’t look like my thing. Then, when we had visitors that were interested in going, a trip was inevitable. I have to admit, I was very wrong. What I had seen a glimpse off was in no way representative of the collection as a whole and I was most impressed by what I saw.

First, there was a lot of variety in the art. Some of it was more to my taste than others which is only to be expected. However, all of it was interesting. The layout of the exhibits gave you plenty of space to enjoy them and, while the place was popular, I rarely felt overcrowded. Much of the work was much more subtle than I had anticipated and the forms and coloring were most impressive. Other parts were a bit more dramatic but still very cool.

While much of the work was indoors, there was a selection outside and these were nicely integrated into the gardens. The blend of the colors and the reflections of the surrounding structures in the surfaces were interesting for some while others were just interesting shapes. The potential of lighting them is something that was apparent but closing time was around sundown, so we only got a hint of the illumination. We shall return in winter to see how the lighting looks.

Refurbished Space Needle

With some visitors in town recently, I made another trip up the Space Needle.  They have finally finished to refurbishment of the area at the top of the tower and it is a pretty cool job that they have done.  The glazing around the balcony area is finished as is the floor area inside.  There is also now a stairwell to take you down to the next level.  This has been refurbished to create a glass floor for a ring around the whole floor.  This glass floor rotates.  I imagine this is where the restaurant was when the Space Needle first opened.  It gradually cranks around and it gives you a fantastic view downwards.

Apparently there will be a refurbished restaurant next year which, I assume, will be in the section a third of the way up the tower (since I can’t see where else it would go).  The new floor is really cool though.  Having been up a couple of times recently, I thought I wouldn’t have much new to see, but the addition of this element really gave me lots of new things to look at.