Tim de Graag | Architect | Transforming the Seattle 520
Tim de Graag architecture portfolio
Tim de Graag, Portfolio, architecture, rehabilitation, transformation, heritage, vacancy, design
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Transforming the Seattle 520



520 bridge, Seattle

The Seattle 520 is a bridge crossing lake Washington east of the center of Seattle. It is an important corridor to Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond. Due to high maintenance costs, damages and the need for additional lanes, it was planned to close the bridge in 2014. A competition was held to envision new and innovative reuse strategies back in 2012. Transforming the Seattle’s 520 floating bridge with sustainability in mind was the key task of this project.


The current bridge has the potential to offer a new diversity of functions which cannot be found in the main parts of Seattle yet. With an excellent view on the landscape and good accessibility, several activities can be located on the bridge. This proposal reuses the bridge by transforming it into a green corridor with a focus on cycling, running and walking. This green corridor provides access to spaces for (water)sports, fishing, music and short stay facilities for artists, surfers & fishermen. The bridge becomes a large green strip as an extension of the current city and will be connected to the planned HOV system ( high-occupancy-vehicle). Turning the bridge in a pedestrian and cyclist zone with limited access for vehicles creates a clean and healthy environment for recreation purposes.

A sustainable solution

Nowadays the rehabilitation of unused large infrastructural objects becomes an important issue for improving our living environment. Especially in an economic crisis, cheap and environmental friendly solution need to be found. The first step in saving energy and materials is to reuse as much as possible of the original site. As the bridge is well known and accessible, it will be kept in place. This means that the bridge does not have to be disconnected or transported and that the 77 tons anchors do not have to be lifted. A grey water system is proposed for irrigation and draining and solar panels provide electricity for public lighting.

Transforming the Seattle 520
Year 2012
Length 2,4 km
Type transformation
Function Infrastructure
In collaboration with Marco Notten