Tacoma Urbanist

Apr. 5, 2008 at 12:14am

Architect Wibowo Submits Alternative Tollefson Design

There is pretty well consensus in Tacoma among professionals and average citizens alike that Tollefson Plaza by any measure is "not working" as it is desolate 98 percent of the time.

On March 26, architect David Boe submitted his alternative design for Tollefson Plaza which would entail placing a two story market type building in Tollefson Plaza with a roof garden with activity. 

The post on Tacoma Urbanist lead to a lively discussion between Boe and Ben Ferguson as to how plazas should be designed.  Many other weighed in as well.

Now architect Ko Wibowo from McGranahan Architects has sent me a proposed re-design of Tollfeson Plaza which would improve it without adding any buildings.

Here is the site plan:

Here are different element views
(click for a larger view)



Outdoor Cafe:

Sculpture Garden:

What do you think?  What could be added?  How close are these to the ideas in the Tollefson Plaza workshop?

Ko also appeared at noon at Frost Park today.

Here's a picture of Ko and fellow Tacoma architect David Boe on Friday:

Two urban architects in Frost Park trying to make a better Tacoma.  We need more of them.


Ko's suggested improvements only address what could be done if no buildings were placed in the Plaza.  I think they might help some.  The biggest change I believe would be to remove the portion of the stairs in Tollefson Plaza which are blocking the connection to the retail on the Marriot.  However, that may be beyond the scope Ko considered.

I am still persuaded by Bo that given the dead zones edges of Tollefson Plaza that it was an inappropriate place for an urban "open space" and will continue to be dead until some permanent life giving buildings are located on the space.

At least now we have a couple of references before the Tacoma city consultant submits their recommendations.

comments [4]  |  posted under tacoma


by morgan on 4/5/2008 @ 5:12pm
It's great to see another architect get involved in trying to make downtown better. Let's see... that's three out of how many???

Pomegranate Center does great work helping communities create places for people. Among their current projects, they are working on a project over in Salishan. Pretty amazing stuff!

Before programming or visioning, I think we need a show of hands of people that would even be interested in visiting the plaza on a frequent basis if it were made more inviting.

by Erik on 4/5/2008 @ 5:41pm
It's great to see another architect get involved in trying to make downtown better. Let's see... that's three out of how many???

More are coming on board. Slowly and surely. I suspect you will see something significant in the near future. With the mixed use center review and the "design review" issue, we need Tacoma's architects expertise and help.

by two9seven on 4/7/2008 @ 9:20am
I'm with Ben on this. Use the space. The problem is that its not being managed. It worked out good during that downtown fair last year. There were plenty of people out there. The space isn't hopeless, just under used.

by KevinFreitas on 4/7/2008 @ 9:56am
Yea, it needs some love just maybe to break it away from Pacific a bit and to have a few tables and chairs to invite people in unprompted, but management is key. It was used really well for Showcase Tacoma last summer and I hope to see some activity there at next week's Daffodil Parade. We're going to start using the space whether managed or not this summer. Stay tuned...