Pike Place MarketFront
Architect: Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
Owner: Pike Place Market Preservation Development Authority
Location: Seattle, WA
Reclaiming a former municipal building site, Pike Place MarketFront is the first addition to Seattle’s cherished farmer’s market in nearly 40 years. The final piece in a long-anticipated vision for a 9-acre neighborhood turned historic district, the project delivers nearly 40,000 square feet of public space and creates a new gateway from the city’s downtown area to its waterfront.
Pike Place MarketFront sits in a highly compact neighborhood that embodies true urbanism. Its buildings are humanly scaled, its streets are filled with pedestrians from all walks of life, and small business are the rule rather than the exception. The project provides a critical connection point to essential goods and services, many of which are available by a brief walk or easily accessed by public transit. In the near future, Pike Place MarketFront will connect directly to Overlook Walk, a section of Seattle’s waterfront revitalization plan currently in the design stage.
The design team sought to open the landmark with grand public spaces framed by a contemporary lightness and transparency. Finding inspiration in the market’s iconic utilitarian charm, Pike Place MarketFront echoes a certain Pacific Northwest toughness in its cast-in-place concrete and engineered timber base. It is capped by an open-air structural steel–framed pavilion and features large expanses of glazing, adding to the industrial undertones.
In addition to extending the market through 50 additional vendor stalls, public restrooms, and enclosed retail space, the project added 40 new low-income senior housing units to the neighborhood’s current stock. A neighborhood service center also increases the availability of social services for the vulnerable families the market supports every year.
Like the existing market, Pike Place MarketFront is a highly active public space that was built to serve the surrounding community and the nearly 40,000 people from across the world who visit the market each day. The project’s programmatic complexity, coupled with its prominence, demanded significant involvement from a number of stakeholders, chief among them the market’s stall merchants. Over the course of two years, the team participated in and facilitated hundreds of public meetings where valuable input on design direction and development has led to a new urban space that tantalizes visitors and longstanding residents alike.