Shingle-like fašade shakes out as most-liked for Forks downtown centerpiece
City of Forks (3)
The design at left, featuring concrete shingles resembling cedar shake, is the overhwhelming pick of those who viewed these three concept drawings for a new Rainforest Arts Center for downtown Forks. Upper right is the "metal straight" front design, and lower right is the "metal cone" front concept.
By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
Print This | Email This
Semi hits horses in the dark; 3 equines killed -- 12/13/13 -09:32 AM
Today's PDN Page 1 . . . and read faster, absorb more -- 12/12/13 -11:25 PM
PENINSULA HOME FUND: A hand up for love -- 12/12/13 -10:31 PM
Breakfast special (with a free Peninsula Daily News) continues at 'The Bear' in Sequim -- 12/3/13 -06:20 PM
Designs for the building, which will replace the arts center that burned Oct. 29 of last year, were presented to more than 50 people at a joint meeting of the Forks Chamber of Commerce and the West End Business and Professionals Association on Wednesday morning.
Seattle-based NAC Architects is designing the $2.1 million building, which is expected to be open by April 2015 for the city's Rainfest.
Attendees of Wednesday's meeting voted for their favorite of NAC's design options by placing stickers on sketches of three combinations of building materials, with 32 of 38 votes in favor of the shingle exterior.
They also voted for their favorite sketches of three different designs for an overhang roof that will cover a patio area in front of the south portion of the 7,000-square-foot building that will cover two lots at the corner of Forks Avenue and Division Street.
The north portion of the building will house a 2,500-square-foot performance area and storage space. The south side includes a lobby entrance and 1,100 to 1,300 square feet of retail space the city will lease out to businesses.
Results of the advisory vote will be presented to the City Council, which is expected to make a decision on the building's design when it meets at 6 p.m. Monday.
City Planner and attorney Rod Fleck cautioned that the council may decide on a different design than the one selected Wednesday.
“We like consensus,” Fleck said. “But our democracy does not require consensus.”
The “Contemporary Rustic” option featured brown concrete shingles hung on the sawblade-style facade of the performance portion of the building with a two-tone brick on the facade of the retail space and as trim.
The city put out an NAC drawing of the building that featured a metal siding on the two-story-tall performance space.
That drew a number of objections and letters to the editor from people who said the building should have a wood exterior to reflect the city's logging heritage.
Birdie James, who led a petition drive against the metal facade, said the concrete shingles were a reasonable alternative.
“That'll work out just fine,” James said.
James had presented her petition, which contained more than 240 signatures, to the City Council at its Oct. 14 meeting.
Fleck, in his hour-plus presentation on the design options before the vote, said a wood exterior on the building would be costly to maintain because it would “get pounded by rain.”
The area's rainfall is measured in feet and routinely is more than 100 inches annually.
Fleck noted that the cedar shingles on the exterior of the city's Transit Center rotted 16 years after they were installed and had to be replaced.
Fleck also pointed out the entire interior of the performance hall will be made of wood — the floor, ceiling and walls. He said that will help make warmer acoustics inside the performance space.
Fleck told the audience the building will be built with a wood frame.
He also predicted the city would be able to get local wood for the building through its bid process.
“We can support the local industry by making the building with a wood frame,” Fleck said.
While the bid process will be open to suppliers from anywhere, Fleck figured local suppliers will have a price advantage because of reduced shipping costs.
“You're not going to truck from long distances wood into Forks,” He said.
Although they split on how the posts should be arranged, Wednesday's poll favored wood support for the roof over the 800-square-foot patio in front of the retail portion of the building.
One design had vertical posts supporting the roof; the other had V-style support.
The voters rejected the idea of a single steel smokestack-style support.
Voters went for the “V” 18-15 over the vertical posts. The cone received five votes.
When the council decides on the design Monday, city officials will begin to work with NAC on designing the building's interior.
Fleck noted the city could work in a time capsule, a photo history mosaic and carved entry doors to instill more of the area's heritage inside.
He hopes the designers will be able to put the project out for bid in January and select a contractor by March so construction can begin next spring.
The burned building formerly was the lodge for the International Order of Odd Fellows.
The new building will cover two lots after the West Olympic Council of the Arts purchased the corner lot, a former pharmacy and last home of the Forks Dazzled by Twilight store, and donated it to the city.
Forks received a $2.64 million insurance settlement for the burned arts center, about $500,000 of which has been dedicated for the demolition of the old building and design of the new.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: October 24. 2013 7:50PM