"Prowl the Web sites of some of Seattle's better architecture firms, and one of the peculiar trends you might pick out is that the most innovative work is arising in the form of weekend cabins in the Methow Valley. Partly, this is understandable -- architects and their clients naturally feel less inhibited when they're away from home and the intense scrutiny of the city.
But it also illustrates an unhappy trend in that city. As Seattle grows larger, denser, wealthier and ever more conscious of itself as a city of real importance, it seems less willing to take chances, explore the fringes, invert expectations and celebrate weirdness. Too much at stake.
You can see the perfect illustration in the 2007 Seattle Art Museum expansion, where the shack-up arrangement with Washington Mutual gave birth to a building that wears the stiffest of gray business suits. Although it provides excellent exhibit space for art inside, its expressionless public face beams the wrong message outside: no imagination, no adventure, no fun to be had here."