The roof of the Burien Transit Center is a modern rendition of a large Native American canoe. Opened on May 30, 2009, the Burien Transit Center features an engraved glass shelter and metal sculpture. Both the shelter’s glass canopy and the sculpture were designed by artist Julie Berger.
As a design team artist, Berger wished to introduce the experience of nature to this urban site and conceived the glass frit design for the transit center’s canopy and bus screen panels as dappled light filtering through the forest foliage. The sculpture recalls with clarity the mystery of an intense shaft of sunlight falling on one tree and singling it out from the many in the forested landscape. Inspiration came from Burien’s historic Three Tree Point, and the tower built around a single, tall fir tree that once offered prospective land buyers a platform view of the surrounding landscape (Gunther’s Tower).
Both a memory piece and a contemporary artwork, Forest Illumination serves as a lighted beacon for the transit center, acknowledges the legacy of Burien’s primeval forest and creates a contemplative experience within the life of the city.
The artwork for the transit center, funded through King County’s 1 Percent for Art program administered by 4 Culture, is the latest in a series of transportation facility designs that feature significant public art. Other projects in the area are located in Federal Way, Bellevue, Shoreline, Issaquah, and Redmond. The artwork creates a unique and memorable marker for this major transportation hub and adjacent civic gathering places, activates the facilities during the day and at night with light and color, and elevates the daily travel for thousands of bus riders.
- Why do you think the artists titled this piece “Forest illuminated”? What would you title this artwork?
About the Artist
Julie Berger lives on Vashon Island, Washington. She moved to the area to work on her master’s in fine arts at the University of Washington. Berger began her artistic career as a jewelry designer and that sensitivity to detail, materials, and beautiful fabrication is still evident in her works even through the scale of her projects has increased over the years. She has completed several other public art projects in the region associated with the transit systems including the pedestrian bridge at the Atlantic Central Base in Seattle and the Sound Transit Park and Ride facility on Mercer Island. In addition to her public art and studio practice, Berger is part of the Industrial Design faculty at the Art Institute of Seattle.
Galvanized steel, metal, glass
King County Metro
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