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Trees, sculpture to grace new plaza at The Round


Artist based blue-and-green monolith on 'three creeks' theme

by: SUBMITTED ART - This rendering shows the future public plaza on the south side of the tracks at The Round at Beaverton Central.Construction on a public plaza with open public space, a sun-dappled grove of American Honey locust trees and a 38-foot-tall water-themed sculpture, is set to begin this summer at The Round at Beaverton Central.

Architects, and artist and city of Beaverton officials presented plans for the South Plaza at The Round project during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. The transformation of the semi-circular, 8,650-square-foot space just south of the eastbound Beaverton Central Transit Station off the 12000 block of Southwest Millikan Way, will begin in June. The area is designed to complement the existing plaza north of the MAX rail line, commonly known as the Amphitheater at The Round, where the city held its Last Tuesday Summer Concerts in 2012.

The city will direct the project in collaboration with The Round’s redeveloper Skanlan Kemper Bard Companies, which is contributing $250,000 to the $460,000 project. Koch Landscape Architecture, which the city hired last year, has worked with a design committee comprising citizen volunteers representing The Lofts at The Round Condominiums, the Beaverton Arts Commission, sister cities and SKB to come up with the look and feel of the plaza.

The space will serve as an entry point for the new Beaverton City Hall as government offices are expected to move from Griffith Drive to the city owned South Office Building at The Round as early as this fall.

Town 'n’ country

The new plaza will complement the existing semi-circular plaza on the north side of the TriMet MAX light-rail line. The design calls for a grove of trees moving toward a more urban grid into a slightly elevated gathering place anchored by “Three Creeks One Will,” a 38-foot-tall, 6-foot-diameter sculpture designed by artist Devin Laurence Field. Plaques and artwork recognizing Beaverton’s sister cities will also grace the plaza.

As it exists today, the plaza space is a leftover portion of “Esplanade Street,” a prior developers’ concept for The Round that was never fully realized, city officials said.

“The plaza itself, we wanted it to be a bit different than the north side,” explained Dean Christensen, project manager with Koch Landscape Architecture, to the council and Mayor Denny Doyle. “We felt the north side was a bit more pastoral in nature, with the grass and the amphitheater. We wanted this space to be a bit more civic-oriented, a bit more urban.”

Divided into two smaller spaces, the lower area will be able to accommodate larger gatherings for food- and other outdoor-oriented events. The grove space will be planted with trees designed to provide dappled sunlight to comfortably accommodate people sitting or dining at tables on warmer days.

The need for a vertical element of some kind arose from a concern about The Round’s closed-in nature.

“In its design, as a whole, The Round is very inwardly focused,” Christensen said. “We wanted to be able to attract both pedestrians and vehicular traffic into the plaza to give it a market that could be seen between the buildings. At some point in the process, we started talking about vertical elements.”

The architects got with the Beaverton Arts Commission to form a wide-ranging committee to choose an appropriate artist for a sculpture. From 21 candidates, the group unanimously chose Field, who drew his water-related inspiration from his home city in New Zealand (see accompanying story).

Color in the Round

The city will advertise for contractors in April, and planners expect construction to begin in June. The plaza should be completed with its artwork installed by the end of September. 

Councilor Marc San Soucie said he looks forward to the plaza and the sculpture bringing a welcoming feeling to the complex, which development hiccups kept rather sparse in terms of visually pleasing amenities.

“This is a very exciting project that’s going to look fabulous,” he said. “I think it’s a great, great concept for that space. The (sculpture) color is going to pop like crazy, and we need that there because there’s so much gray. It’s going to be wonderful. I look forward to seeing this.”

In an earlier statement, Mayor Denny Doyle expressed his enthusiasm for the South Plaza project.

“The city and SKB envision this to be an attractive and vibrant outdoor plaza,” he said. “It will be both a pleasant place to gather as an extension of the community and a place that will support a variety of activities. Being located at the heart of The Round, the South Plaza has the potential to be a great public space.” 

Artist incorporates stream theme into plaza sculpture

Designed by Devin Laurence Field, “Three Creeks One Will” sculpture at The Round's new South Plaza will rise as a cylinder before dispersing at the top into spiraling peaks and arm-like extensions pointed skyward.

“We really felt it needed something tall and vertical to attract people from afar and also compete with the scale of buildings and open space,” Field told the City Council. “Much of my focus was on trying to observe that, and get as much bang for the buck as we could — to get something that could be seen from a distance and really compete.”

The title references Beaverton, Hall and Wessenger Creeks, which converge in the 49-acre Creekside redevelopment district that The Round encompasses.

“I tried to develop a theme around the three creeks of Beaverton and integrate them into a single monolith,” Field said of the design's sea green and aqua-blue color scheme. “The Round, being sort of at the confluence of all these (creeks) creates this nexus that the sculpture really needs to be able to stand up and be the focal point of.”

Researching the history of the area and the varied uses of the city's waterways as the area gradually evolved from rich, farming fields to more urban and commercial uses as population increased, Field chose the title to remind residents of their direct role regarding the creeks' future.

“The title 'Three Creeks, One Will” alludes to the fact that the destiny of the three creeks is in the hands of the people,” he said.