Mini Mart City Park is a community-focused project owned-and-initiated by the artist collaborative SuttonBeresCuller and designed by goCstudio. The project involves the transformation of a former gas station into a public park and cultural center. With over 700 derelict gas stations in the Puget Sound region and over 200,000 nationwide, SuttonBeresCuller (SBC) seeks to explore the potential of art as a way to heal an urban problem while simultaneously creating a shared, multi-use culture and community space. In 2005, SBC purchased a former gas station in King County, a site located in Seattle’s Georgetown Neighborhood, just north of Boeing Field.
Collaborative work between goCstudio and SuttonBeresCuller began in 2014, when the artists came to goCstudio looking for a fresh perspective on the site that they had been working on in earnest since 2008. During the first years that SBC owned the site, activity focused on environmental remediation and working with the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle and the King County Brownfields Program to assess and treat on-site conditions.
goCstudio began their work by exploring options to preserve the existing 1930s-era, 450-square-foot filling station. It quickly became evident that in addition to being too small a venue to host the desired community meetings and gatherings, the structure was too compromised to save. Now freed from using the existing structure, plans were developed for a new, 1,100-square-foot building which would satisfy the desired program and make better use of the site, resulting in more public park space. By dividing the program functions into two primary spaces, a gallery/community center at the front of the building, and a storage/mechanical box at the back of the building, a courtyard space was created in the middle. The courtyard will enable the park and building to work together, merging built space and the spaces in between. The courtyard is anticipated to be used as a working space for large-scale art installations and gatherings.
From the earliest stages of the design process, references to old filling stations–painted clapboard siding, a large overhanging roof protecting the front patio, hand-painted signage, and divided lite windows typical of old storefronts–were an important part of the design. These are a nod to the past, albeit a past transformed: a new type of filling station–one dedicated to serving art, community and civic engagement.
Fundraising is ongoing. A summer 2018 project completion is anticipated.
MiniMart City Park is a Washington State Non-profit Corporation and a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.
Location: 6525 Ellis Avenue South, Seattle, Washington
Jon Gentry AIA, Aimée O’Carroll ARB, Ben Kruse, Becca Fuhrman, Nick Durig