While developing our team building course in Bellevue WA, we came across an area known as Compass Plaza that we wanted to share with you.
Sign for Compass Plaza in Bellevue
The sign describing Compass Plaza in Bellevue provides some interesting history on the city along with a description of the art you’ll find at the site. Here is what the sign says:
Art and design converge in Compass Plaza. Schroeder Properties, Sterling Realty Ogranization and the City of Bellevue worked together to create this major public open space for the community’s enjoyment.
In the northwest corner, Bellgate, a 28′ stainless steel sculpture by artist Lee Kelly, invites you to spin its colorful top wedges by turning hand cranks below. Influenced by prayer wheels he saw in Tibetan villages, kelly imagined turning the wedges as sending good wishes into the community.
Artist Nancy Hammer, collaborating with Hewitt-Isley Architects, imagined the upper plaza as ‘The City within the City’. Integrated into the plaza’s surface, a green granite compass rose refers to Bellevue’s earliest industry: compass manufacturing.
Granite columns rising from the compass suggest the high rises of Bellevue’s downtown in their “wedding cake” layout, tallest in the center and not sprawling, but contained and vital within their downtown compass. Creating an eddy in the stream of pedestrians traveling the cooridor, water flows gently from the tallest columns and occasional puffs of fog waft from decorative grates.
On the western edge, star-shaped water scuppers create a “constellation wall”. The flow of water continues across NE 6th Street with a fountain by artist John Geise.
Public Art in Bellevue’s Compass Plaza
Here are the photographs that we captured of the various public art works that were commissioned for the plaza.
In the center of the plaza you’ll find tall granite blocks that represent buildings in downtown Bellevue. These blocks are laid out in a way that will make you feel like you’re taking a helicopter tour of Seattle
Bellgate is the large kinetic sculpture made of stainless steel in Bellevue’s Compass Plaza. The inscription on the sign reads:
‘Bellgate’ by Kelly June 1985
BAAC thanks these major contributors:
- Wright Kunstad Company
- One Bellevue Center
- City of Bellevue
- Pacific Northwest Bell
- Lease Crutcher Construction Co.
- Safeco Insurance Companies
- Ditty Properties
- Paccar Inc.
- Puget Sound Power & Light Co.
- Sterling Recreation Organization Co.
- US West Direct
- DP and Janice Van Varicom
And the many other supporters who made possible this gift to the citizens of Bellevue.
Below the large compass in the plaza, all of the water flowing from the granite blocks cascades through a series of star-shaped scuppers before cross the street.
John Geise Fountain
Across the street from Compass Plaza, you’ll find the fountain and sculpture by artist John Geise.
Bellevue Restaurant Recommendation
If you’re at Compass Plaza in Bellevue on a weekday, our opinion is that you can’t do much better than Panhandle Barbecue. This is a food truck that is located about 100 feet east of the plaza. Just follow the sidewalk up the hill and you’ll see what looks like a small log cabin. Try the pulled pork sandwich with Texas pit BBQ sauce… you won’t walk away hungry!