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We have a Winner! SDF Pavilion Design Competition

As we look to the summer, we are excited to share the result of the 2022 SDF Pavilion Design Competition with you!

Cue the drumroll and prep the confetti…

Our winner is Johnston Architects!

The history of Seattle cannot be separated from its culture of industry, innovation, and connection to flight. Aviation history is tied to our city with multiple major airports, the Museum of Flight, and the Boeing Company, one of the world’s most notable airplane manufacturers. JA’s design for the SDF Pavilion invites visitors to connect with the dynamic early history of taking flight in Seattle – and beyond.

In 1903 the Wright brothers accomplished their first flight, but the same year Alexander Graham Bell wrote about his work with Tetrahedral Kites in an issue of National Geographic. Experimenting with Hargrave’s box kites, Graham attempted to build a kite that was scalable: large enough to carry both person and motor.

As a multi-celled rigid box composed of tetrahedrally shaped cells, the kite forms a kind of nascent space-frame while expressing its tetrahedrally compound shape. An early experiment on the path to manned flight, the Tetrahedral Kite inspires the forms and patterns of this Pavilion.

The practical requirements of the SDF Pavilion brief gave the design team a loose program of size, purpose, and described the need for ease of assembly, disassembly, reassembly, and transport. Over the course of two charettes, the idea of stick-built structures and tents began to evolve into structures resembling 3D trusses with lightweight structural skeletons. Combined with Seattle’s inspiring innovation in flight, these concepts began to morph into an architectural cousin of Bell’s historic kites.


Seattle Design Festival would like to thank our Pavilion Design Competition sponsor Amazon, for their generous support of this program. With their support, we are able to award the team at Johnston $10,000 to cover design hours, materials, fabrication, and installation. We were so pleased to have Malek Chalabi, Sr. Principal UX Designer at Amazon, on hand at Ignite! to help announce this award and to share Amazon’s Leadership Principles and their commitment to local communities, the planet, and future generations.

We would also like to thank our esteemed jurors, again, for participating in an incredibly tough deliberation!

SDF Council Member Yannick Mathews RA, AIA, WELL AP; SDF Block Party Coordinator Yasir Al-Tameemi Assoc. AIA; SDF Staff Member Bray Hayden; SDF Council Member Jake Woland PLA, ASLA, LEED AP; SDF Block Party Coordinator Shauna Wilson; SDF Council Member Mindy Lehrman Cameron FAIA; and Senior Principal Design Director with Amazon Alistair Hamilton FIDSA