The Sinking Ship parking garage in Seattle is aptly named, a fact which you can clearly see when you look at it. The building is a multi-story parking garage in Pioneer Square and James Street to the north, Yesler Way to the south, and 2nd Avenue to the east. It is just steps away from the Pioneer Building on the site of the former Occidental Hotels and Seattle Hotel. The look of the structure gives the illusion of a sinking ship, even though it is level. After the Seattle Hotel was demolished in 1961, the Sinking Ship was built as part of a neighborhood redesign.

Designers Gilbert H Mandeville, an engineer and Gudmund B Berge, an architect of the Seattle firm Mandeville and Berge built the structure in 1965. They also designed the Logan Building and an addition to the First Presbyterian Church downtown, the Ballard branch of Seattle Public Library, which is an unusual building too, although not like the Sinking Ship, and two buildings at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962….the Alaska Building and the Transportation 21 Building, neither of which are really unusual.

The parking It is owned by the Kubota–Fujii family, who had acquired the Seattle Hotel in 1941. Doris Kubota, from the same family, called the garage the “ugliest building in all of Seattle.” During the 2001 Mardi Gras riot the building was used as a staging area for police and city officials. The Seattle Monorail Project had hoped to acquire the site through condemnation to turn it into a monorail station at the site of the Sinking Ship, but the Kubota family disputed the condemnation lawsuit, stating their intention to build housing and retail at the site.

While Doris Kubota thought the building was ugly, it was named the “coolest parking lot” in the United States by the design publication Architizer Journal in 2019 and still remains on that list today, dropping to 4th place. While I agree that it is cool, I’m not a fan of concrete buildings. Still, it makes sense for a parking structure to be made out of concrete. As of 2022, the garage is managed by Diamond Parking, and it is open 24 hours a day.

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