Making the Invisible Visible: Olympia's Artesian Wells and Public Space Design
Strelioff, Karin Leah
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Once a ubiquitous source of drinking water, today the majority of Olympia's free-flowing artesian wells are all but forgotten. Only a few of more than ninety-six historic wells have not been capped, diverted into the sewer or stormwater system, or permanently decommissioned. The neglect, loss, and deliberate destruction of Olympia's artesian wells have erased a critical part of the city's history and thereby denied an important connection between people and the ecological systems that sustain them. This thesis proposes to heighten awareness of artesian water at multiple scales through design of a series of interrelated interventions. This project demonstrates how Olympia can reconnect with history, strengthen identity, and draw people's attention to interwoven ecological and social narratives that can establish new purpose and meaning for Olympia's public life.