Sketched Oct. 23-25, 2019
The F5 Tower, which was completed in 2017, has crowded the view from the Starbucks in the Columbia Center’s sky lobby. But it hasn’t ruined it. On the contrary, it acts as a giant mirror, full of mesmerizing reflections. Squint for a bit and the dark silhouette of the Columbia Center itself comes into view. Look closer and you might spy tech workers at F5 Networks milling around their sleek office space.
The coffee shop on the 40th floor of Seattle’s tallest skyscraper has been one of my favorite city hideouts for years, especially during the winter. Most downtown workers may well be aware of this sweet spot, but sharing my sketch still makes me feel like I’m spilling a little secret.
For the real experience, and if you want to score a seat like mine, time your visit to miss the morning rush — and stay away on weekends, when the store is closed. Enter the building through the revolving doors at Columbia and Fifth Avenue then catch a swift, 30-second ride to the sky lobby on one of the elevators marked “37-76.” Another hot tip: After you finish your coffee, you may want to check out the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor for more spectacular views.
The work of perspective wizards Paul Heaston and David Swart inspired me to try this spherical panorama — find the interactive version on Facebook. How could I draw that? I used an underlaying grid with multiple vantage points — and lots of caffeine!