July 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 52

SPOKANE

of whom had been blinded by big,
clunky commercial structures for so
long they had forgotten that those
water views even existed.
Ten countries participated in the
fair. Each country received its own pavilion space to demonstrate its unique
interpretations of the expo's environmental theme. Some countries, like
Canada, chose to celebrate nature by
offering outdoor exhibits that featured
a playground and outdoor theater,
while Japan debuted a peaceful, lavish garden. In stark contrast, the United States used technology to deliver
its environmental message.
The U.S. Pavilion had a lush
green roof wrapped over most of
the structure, an outrageous concept in 1974. Trees stood guard
around the site, while the pavilion's
exterior resembled a giant, taut,
tilted tent. A white canopy hugged
the net cable structure that upheld
it, and painted on the entrance wall

was the motto " The Earth Does
Not Belong to Man, Man Belongs
to the Earth, " a precursor to the
IMAX film playing inside the tent.
The film juxtaposed breathtaking
images of earthly treasures like the
Grand Canyon with dramatic flashes of human destruction. Footage of
dying trees weakened by smog, land
torn up for its coal, and oil rig fires
demonstrated humanity's willingness to abuse earth's resources. It was
a cautionary tale that foreshadowed
our world's current climate crisis.
Nevertheless, Spokane maintained a hopeful outlook on the future and a pledge to keep its promise to the community.

Old Habits, New Century
After the fair ended, the city followed through with its plan to turn
the downtown fairgrounds into
Riverfront Park, a 100-acre park
that includes two islands, a diversion dam and powerhouse, seven
bridges, and areas on the north and
south bank of the Spokane River.
The pavilion stayed.
" The pavilion is like the Riverfront's
living room. It's centrally located, and
it's the heart of the park, " Walker
says. Yet over four decades, the introduction of buildings and structures
diminished its grandeur and obscured
views of the river and falls.

Demolition with a
Conscience
" The pavilion has an archeology and
attitude all its own, " says Guy Michaelsen, a principal for Berger Partnership, the pavilion's landscape architects. " Its reimagining was based
more on subtraction than additions.
Our big move was to strip out all
Recent renovations to Riverfront Park
incorporate the environmental spirit of
Expo '74.
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structures but the historic net and the
original integral ring building and
treat the space as a wonderfully absurd and un-natural landscape.
Although demolition and construction can create environmental
challenges, the team found ways to
protect the grounds.
" We removed trees, " says Hill
International's Lorraine Mead,
senior construction manager for
the project, " but with the goal of
planting two trees for every one removed. " They also removed berms
of fill material that, now gone, allowed for panoramic views of the
river, falls and surrounding greens.
" These renovations had the same
environmental spirit of Expo '74, "
says Michaelsen, " but in ways no
one could have ever imagined in
1974. " Thanks to decades of environmental research, the team could
use innovative methodologies that
didn't exist 40 years ago.
" The site was previously occupied
by rail yards and industrial activity
that negatively impacted our soil, "
says Berry Ellison, program manager for City of Spokane Parks and
Recreation. " Creative stormwater
engineering allowed us to avoid infiltration into poor subsurface soils and
convey clean water back to the river. "
To help ensure proper site cleanup, the construction team capped
all on-site contaminated soil with
either clean soil or hardscape.
Workers also used contaminated
soils excavated during construction
of the Looff Carousel, ice rink,
promenades and pavilion to build
up the amphitheater bowl beneath
the pavilion ring, which was then
capped with clean soil, making it
an environmentally friendly and
cost-effective use of materials.
Because of the team's thoughtful
planning and hard work, the pavilion is now part of an open space



July 2020 - Parks & Recreation

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