Courtesy: Stephen Glassman
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Thornton Creek

Seattle, Washington

Stephen Glassman

Fire Station 39: within the rain garden of Fire Station 39 adjacent to the apparatus bay doors, 2806 NE 127th St., Seattle, Washington, 98125
Owner:  Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
Date:  2010
Placement:  fire stations
Artwork Type:  outdoor sculpture, public sculpture
Material:  steel (alloy), grass (plant material)
Description:  Stephen Glassman’s Thornton Creek, named after a local watershed, is a 28-foot-tall free standing sculpture located within the rain garden of Fire Station 39. The large assemblage is made of galvanized steel, and is integrated visually and functionally with the building and rain garden. Thornton Creek serves as a rainwater delivery system, moving runoff from the building’s roof to an underground cistern. The sculpture includes two raised planting beds that feature and support native Northwest grasses. The artwork creatively reveals the sustainable efforts of the building to harvest and use rainwater for some of the station’s functions. The artist writes: “I learned the fate of the local Thornton Creek, and how this valuable local watershed has been nearly completely covered and piped away from its native habitat. There was a growing public sentiment to restore the creek and to claim it as a community identity. As this public facility was already to be a green building with a surrounding rain garden landscape, it seemed a perfect opportunity to create an integrated sculpture as a gesture to the future of the creek and, in turn, the community of Lake City. Thus the sculpture parallels the ecological restoration processes already in play. The asphalt plane is stripped away, and native creek grasses are lifted toward the sunlight. Pipes, previously tunneling the creek underground, are pulled into the daylight and peeled open. The piece opens to the rain, catching it from the sky and from the roof – and sends the water cascading through its troughs and grasses, ultimately to be stored in an underground cistern.”

Funding Source: Department of Finance and Administrative Services Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy 1% for Art.

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