Hillside Pavilion

Seattle, Washington

The studio rises sharply above the busy railway lines that move goods to Canada and the Northern Territories. Inside, an extensive Model B gauge rail set mimics the larger rumble below; elaborate modernist glass partitions support the track and miniature cargo.

This site specific sculpture builds and supports the train metaphor by emerging from the larger landscape of the property on plank “railway” paving. Constructed of antique granite pavers reclaimed from Asia, the entry sequence and arrival to the studio unfolds slowly and emits a dull roar from a “stone amplifier” set over a stream culvert. These spanning, wedge-shaped stone beams broadcast the falling water’s sound by bouncing it off the sculpture’s interior. As the form rises out of the earth on the downhill slope, the amplifier provides a seat from which the falling water’s tones may envelope the listener.

Next, massive stone walls rise from the earth as an ancient trestle abutment. The last of these stone plinths support the studio entrance, which we discover at the end of the railway walk. The walls appear as historical ruins with their tight joints and visually solid massing. They work to form an outside room that embraces and frames the view to Puget Sound by visually blocking out the other structures on the property. The ancient style of the walls gathers their visual strength and sense of place from their apparent thickness and finely wrought ashlar structure. They anchor the entire site, giving place and permanence to an otherwise typical suburban neighborhood.

Once inside the studio, hand crafted limestone paving runs in wide bands across the train gallery; the texture of the field is contrasted and contained by a more refined hand-tooled border. At the far end of the studio, a fragment of the trestle wall begins anew, rising from the earth and supporting the model train’s voyage into the green world beyond the environs of the building’s interior.

Associated Professionals

Paul Aiello