Mini Mart City Park

Architecture firm: GO'C

Owner: Mini Mart City Park

Location: Seattle

Category: Two

Project site: Brownfield

Building program type(s): Public assembly - entertainment/culture

Mini Mart City Park, a community-focused cultural center and park in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, has radically transformed a derelict gas station into a vibrant hub for creativity and the arts. The project is a collaboration between the design team and artist group SuttonBeresCuller, which purchased the brownfield site, that explores the potential of architecture and art to mend an urban concern. With more than 700 similar gas stations in the region and more than 200,000 across the country, Mini Mart City Park is a model for remediation that results in compelling and much-needed community spaces.

The project is situated near the Duwamish River, a critical industrial port for Puget Sound. Because of its legacy of industrial use, the waterway and surrounding land are heavily polluted, so much so that the Environmental Protection Agency designated the five-mile portion that flows through Georgetown a superfund site. Such heavy pollution required careful consideration of how any development could work to improve the site’s soil.

The design for the project, which sits adjacent to Boeing Field, one of the country’s busiest non-hub airports, is focused on creating flexible spaces indoors and out that support art, learning, and community engagement. A significant portion of the site has been returned to the native landscape and public space at ground level. Below it all, a hidden air sparging and soil vapor extraction system advance the team’s concept of “cleaning the earth with art” as it addresses residual petroleum contaminants in the site’s soil and groundwater.

This transformation of a brownfield site is a strong project. It integrated a significant number of sustainable strategies in such a small space.  – Jury comment

An overarching goal for the project was to create a place to learn about art, architecture, and healthy urban environments, bolstering Mini Mart City Park’s slate of exhibitions and workshops. The community is welcomed into two structures that are linked by a central courtyard, merging built space with the landscaped areas between. The courtyard also hosts large-scale art installations and movie nights for the community and provides loading access for the main gallery. Above, a 1,000-square-foot rooftop serves as an elevated gathering space, surrounded by green roof sections and solar panels.

Construction was supported by a core group of volunteers from Dirt Corps and Duwamish Youth, who spent many hours planting the project’s green roof and surrounding landscape. Local artists designed a series of green wall panels that were installed by members of the Mini Mart City Park’s board and Dirt Corps volunteers. The panels reference the site’s history of contamination while further supporting the growth of native plants.

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of substantial project completion: 2022

Gross conditioned floor area: 1100 sq. ft.

Project team

Architect: ​GO'C

Artists: SuttonBeresCuller

Structural Engineer: J Welch Engineering

Civil Engineer: J Welch Engineering

Kinetic Window: Chris McMullen Productions

Lighting Design: Fixture Studio

Landscape Consultant: Wittman Estes

Envelope Consultant: RDH Building Science

General Contractor: Métis Construction


Chandra Robinson, AIA, (Chair), LEVER Architecture, Portland, Ore.

Katherine Hogan, AIA, Katherine Hogan Architects, Raleigh, N.C.

Chris Baribeau, AIA, Modus Studio, Fayetteville, Ark.

David Corban, AIA, David Corban Architects, Naples, Fla.

Madhubala Ayyamperumal, Assoc. AIA, Gensler, San Francisco

Image credits

Mini Mart City Park 3

Kevin Scott

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Kevin Scott

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Kevin Scott

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Kevin Scott

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Kevin Scott