Comfort Zone 2004

Pat Steele Building Exterior - Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington

This architectural-scale textile adds softness and a sense of hand to a 5-story office building that houses Harborview Medical Center administration and clinic functions.

Using a custom steel yarn product made for the artist by Belgium-based Bekaert Corporation, Klein enlisted a team of dedicated and skilled weavers to produce hand-woven artworks for the exterior of the building. Employing both brains and brawn, the weaving team — Peggy Bridgman, Sidney Dodge, Debra Lacey, Katharine Lewis and Patricia McDonald — found that using the innovative material proved challenging and rewarding. Looms, shuttles and techniques all had to be reinvented during the fabrication process to accommodate the heft of the stainless steel yarn.

The geometric elegance of the Art Deco ornamentation on the original Harborview Medical Center buildings, the wooden fretwork trim of the area's older homes and the comfort that handmade objects offer provided inspiration for the work. Classic textile patterns including Brooks Bouquet, Spanish Lace and Danish Medallion, were hand woven on shaped frame looms into five gossamer panels each measuring 12 feet and 28 feet on the Broadway side of the building. On the Boren Avenue side of the building, a 30-foot by 30-foot crochet artwork hangs directly above the entry doors.

ADDRESS:
401 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122

PARTNERS:
King County Department of Executive Services: Facilities Management Division, Harborview Medical Center, Broadway Office Properties, Opus Northwest, Magnusson Klemencic Associates Structural + Civil Engineers

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