SEA Airport and community space

The Central Course is a beautiful space. There are both fast food and local restaurants there, along with travel friendly and funky shopping.

But there's a problem. The Port of Seattle got carried away with the Civic Space. They seem to think we want to talk to one another.

Here's how they describe it on the airport website:

The main feature of the new Central Terminal is a grand civic space. The Pacific Marketplace is a city streetscape, a scene of the Northwest community complete with shops, restaurants, landscaping, a view to the airfield, and public art. The gathering place, designed by Fentress Bradburn Architects, encompasses 60,000 square feet with a 60-foot tall ceiling and a west-facing structural glass curtain wall. During the day, the large expanse of glass floods the space with sparkle and light; at night, the glowing room becomes a beacon. This interior space feels like an outdoor room.

They went crazy with the community.

The food court is filled with tables and chairs designed for groups of 4 or 5 people. It's great to have a few of those, but at SEA, nearly all the tables are like that.

In this lousy shot, I managed to capture a few of the smaller tables.

2009-06-01 SEA Central court (2)

You know something? Most people travel ALONE. Group travel is the exception, not the rule. We don't need that many large tables. We need smaller ones for one or two people.

I'm sure they considered this in the design meeting. And I'm sure it was intentional. The must have thought that this way strangers will meet one another over a meal. They may share a table while carting their Wendy's french fries or their sushi about the food court.

It would provide an opportunity for accidental interaction. Travelers would meet new members of the travel community and share their stories the way travelers of old would when they reached the pub in that small town in the middle of their arduous journey.

People who do not know one another would share a table and strengthen the bonds of community. It would be a modern day Canterbury Tales.

It's a very Seattle approach.


Most travelers want to get where they are going. Maybe they want a quick bite in a nice environment before the next flight.

Mostly, we want to be left alone.

When you walk around the concourse you see all these huge tables with only one person sitting at them. It makes is hard to find an open table.

In most places it's rude to take a large table for one's self. You're expected to take a small table if it's just one person. At SEA, we have no choice.

They designed the space for the ideal of what they want to promote, and not for the reality of what the traveling public wants.

They Port could easily replace 20 large tables with 40 or more small tables. It will be easier to find a seat. People who want to be left alone could be left alone. And it would make the traveling experience less stressful.

The airport should quit trying to reengineer their users and instead just try to make us happy.


Moms Musings said...

Don't you realize that those in charge think they know what's best for us?

brokenteepee said...

The publicist knows that when she travels East to visit her family she is usually running from one flight to another, frantically. What is this sitting down to eat in an airport?

Brillie said...

I won't travel alone... at least, there is some one accompany mr

seatac airport taxi service said...

Sometimes, too much attention can stress us out. Just let travelers be for goodness sake.