Cultural Exchange: A New Center for Seattle's Asian Immigrants
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The city of Seattle is experiencing a rapid growth in its immigrant population, having increased 40 percent between 1990 and 2000. Today, immigrants make up 17.3 percent of the total population in comparison to the national average of 12.9. Despite this dramatic influx, Asians have consistently stood as the dominant ethnic group, making up 39.8% of the current immigrant population. With that, the gentrification of the urban core has increased the trend of Asian immigrants migrating southwards to the outskirts of the city. This economic pressure has resulted in an Asian population that is disconnected and dispersed. Not only are they removed from the established Asian support system that exists in Seattle's International District, but they also lack the density needed to create a visible presence and place identity within their present communities. This further debilitates them during an already challenging transition and ultimately diminishes the available opportunities they have for civic engagement within the greater community. In an effort to address this problem, this thesis proposes the design of a cultural center that cultivates the growth of south Seattle's existing Asian presence and helps to generate a distinct sense of place for the increasing Asian immigrant population. Located at the heart of Seattle's Rainier Valley along the Central Link Light Rail line, this cultural center not only serves the Holly Park and Brighton neighborhoods where the reported Asian population is highest, but is also accessible to the greater Seattle area. Architecturally, this cultural center works to unite the Asian community by providing opportunities for cultural exchange through the expression of food, language, and art. Acting as a beacon for Asian cultures, the facility roots itself in the existing Asian presence, supporting its continued growth while also amplifying its visibility within the city.
- Architecture