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Convention Place Station-the Meeting Place

Click on any small photo to see a larger image.
Downloadable station map [.PDF 850kb] with art locations noted.

Convention Place Station

The first thing the astute traveler will notice about this station is that it is not actually in a tunnel. At Ninth Avenue and Pine Street, Convention Place (so named because the state Convention & Trade Center is conveniently located a block south of the station) is one of two open-air stations and bus staging areas. Architect Robert Jones designed the station with lead artists Alice Adams and Jack Mackie.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

As part of construction for the Link light rail stub tunnel, Sound Transit integrated artwork at the Pine Street vent shaft, just east of the Paramount Theatre. Working with lead architect Greg Hill, artist Ries Niemi created "Eat, Drink and Be Merry," a family of three stainless-steel sculptures inspired by nearby shopping, dining and entertainment. The humanlike sculptures act as ambassadors to the downtown retail core.

Setting the stage

Photo of Marquee Photo of Marquee

One of the most noticeable station features is two stylized theater marquees at the plaza entrance designed by artist Alice Adams. The neon inserts are a glowing tribute to the venerable Paramount Theatre across Pine Street from the station. The marquee facing Ninth Avenue has shapes patterned after New York City's Chrysler Building.

Jimi Hendrix silhouette

Jimi Hendrix song Stepping Stone

On the Pine Street sidewalk entering the plaza you'll see the silhouette of famous Northwest guitarist, singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix. As you step down into the plaza, you'll notice the appropriately placed title to one of Hendrix's songs etched in the stair risers.

Go forth And Follow

A quotation and silhouette of Gordon Hirabayashi, local activist, leads into the station from Ninth Avenue.

Gordon Hirabayashi silhouette

After you pass through the marquee entrances, you'll notice that the plaza stage is set with genuine footlights. Well, actually, the plaza floor is paved with glass blocks that radiate light from the station below. Follow the glass-brick road to the gates leading to escalators, stairs and elevators to the station bus-loading platforms.

glass blocks

The garden on a table

The plaza is a "garden on a table." It includes a street-level park built on the concrete lid covering part of the station platform and entrance to the tunnel. The plaza includes basic park features with planters and benches. Punsters may appreciate that nine pine trees were originally planted on the plaza.

Planter Planter

In the northwest corner of the plaza are four artist-designed planters patterned after bonsai pots (bonsai is a Japanese art form using miniature shrubs and trees). When New York artist Maren Hassinger was designing the planters, she stayed at the former Camlin Hotel across Ninth Avenue from the station (before Wyndam Inc. converted the historic building to a Worldmark resort).

Planter Planter

Hassinger was so impressed by the elevator button design for the hotel's former penthouse lounge-the Cloud Room-that one of the plaza planters now commemorates the form and spirit of that much-used elevator button.

A grate museum

Along Ninth Avenue next to the station, you'll find five species of trees-the linden, zeikova, oak, maple and gingko. It's a tree-grate museum highlighting the five varieties of trees along Pine Street and Third Avenue above the tunnel.

Planter grate

Each species of tree has its own, 5-foot-square cast-iron grate designed by artists Garth Edwards, Maren Hassinger, Virginia Paquette, Susan Point and Dyan Rey. If you walk along the streets above the tunnel, you'll discover a different species of tree every three to four blocks.

Station in a garden

Concrete cliff

Most of Convention Place Station is below street level on a 4-acre site that once contained a hodgepodge of buildings and small businesses. Though it is an open-air station, Metro had to remove about 225,000 cubic yards of soil from the area to build it. Some concrete support columns for the retaining wall south of the station are 12 feet in diameter, just a few feet less than the diameter of the Third Avenue tunnel sections.

Artist Jack Mackie sculpted the design of the retaining wall, creating a jagged concrete cliff. Along the top of the wall off the Pine Street sidewalk is a small overlook. The overlook lets you stand above the station and look over the artificial cliff and cavern below.

Even the station's light and power poles didn't escape artist Mackie's touch. Colorful orange and green utility poles dot the station landscape, carrying out the "station in the garden" theme.

Utility poles

'Talking Wall'

Speaking of walls, a walk along Pine Street next to the station will introduce you to a wall of tiles added in 1995 to take the place of graffiti "art." Created by artist Maggie Smith with poet Judith Roche, the tiles include the words of students at Cleveland, Nathan Hale and Middle College high schools. The artist developed human-sized silhouettes in other tiles from photos of people walking along downtown streets.

Talking Wall - words Talking Wall silhouettes


Downloadable station map [.PDF 850kb] with art locations noted.

Updated: Jan. 29, 2008