Four Capitol Visions

Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2005

On Jan. 14, the city selected four design teams - two from California, one each from Seattle and Massachusetts - as finalists in its state capitol design competition.

Those teams have until Feb. 16 to come up with a design proposal for a new capitol building on Telephone Hill. The designs will be put on display for the public from Feb. 18-25, and the city will choose its favorite one on Feb. 28.

What makes this competition unique is that no money has been allocated to build a new capitol. The project was initiated by Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho but has not gained approval from state lawmakers. In fact, some of those lawmakers are still arguing to move the capital out of Juneau.

In other words, the project is still in its infant stages. It will be up to the city, the designers and pro-Juneau lawmakers to sell the eventual design to the rest of the state.

Seven days into the final design stage, here's a look at the four finalists and some of their thoughts on planning a new capitol:

Plan 1: Morphosis intrigued by challenge of cityscape In the late-1990s, the University of Toronto asked Santa Monica architect Thom Mayne to design a graduate student housing complex in the middle of a complex cityscape.

Plan 2: Yazdani ponders topographical dilemma Iranian-born architect Mehrdad Yazdani, an artist with paintings in the New York and San Francisco museums of modern art, has a reputation for illustrating how public buildings can be both functional and beautiful.

Plan 3: Sadafi hopes to blend East, West and Alaska Among the four finalists selected to design Alaska's capitol, Moshe Safdie might be the most well known outside the field of architecture.

Plan 4: Seattle-based design firm NBBJ carries tradition of Alaska building During their visit to Juneau last December, Steve McConnell and Richard Dallam were inspired by a group of elementary school students on their way to see the governor.

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