Browse Public Art

Troy Block

Two plaza artworks reflect the history and dramatic transformation of a Seattle neighborhood.

Jim Blashfield. Mechanism, 2017. Machined and welded aluminum, electronics, high-definition video, and audio. Troy Block, Seattle, WA. Photo: Wiseknave

For nearly a century, Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood was sparsely dotted in low-slung industrial and commercial buildings. In recent years the area has rapidly transformed into a densely packed hub of social science and high-tech office towers peppered with mixed-use housing and retail.

The Troy Block—a full city block on a steep slope with dramatic views—includes the historic Boren Investment and Troy Laundry buildings, both of which have been integrated into contemporary 12-story towers. Between these structures, a large public open space distributes the location’s 28-foot grade change through an entry plaza, courtyard and covered arcade, offering pedestrian connections with amenities such as seating, lighting, landscaping, and artwork.

Jim Blashfield and Lead Pencil Studio created artworks for this public space that draw on the site’s history and speak to its ongoing transformation. These pieces were commissioned by Touchstone and USA; 4Culture managed the development and integration of the artworks, from artist selection through dedication and building-opening events.