Jeremy Gregory, a 25-year-old artist designing a mural for the fence that masks the Washington State Convention and Trade Center expansion site, found that the construction company is interested in taking some artistic license of its own. First, he says, honchos at Howard S. Wright Construction returned his drawing of the Seattle skyline with red arrows pointing to some of Wright's other buildings, including the Columbia Seafirst Tower, Washington Mutual headquarters, and the Seattle Sheraton. "They wanted me to redraw them and make them taller than the rest of the buildings," Gregory says. Wright spokesperson Chris Gulin remarks, "I'm guessing that if that's true, it's because the buildings are taller." Gregory says Wright also asked him to add a large, unimpeded image of Pike Place Market to his city skyline. This seems a strange request, considering that City Councilmembers Peter Steinbrueck and Nick Licata actually attempted (without success) to alter Convention Center expansion plans because a pair of huge skybridges will obstruct views to the market from Capitol Hill. Gulin says, "We wanted the market in the mural, because the center is a gateway to the market and to the Pike/Pine neighborhood." Who knew we needed a gate? (with reporting by Samantha M. Shapiro)

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Who will design our new downtown library? The competition has been whittled down to five firms: Seattle's Zimmer-Gunsul-Frasca Partnership, New York's Steven Holl Architects, London's Sir Norman Foster and Partners, Rotterdam architect Rem Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture, and New Haven's Cesar Pelli and Associates. An impressive list of firms, including Pei Cobb Freed, Richard Meier, Michael Graves, Robert A.M. Stern, and Architectonica, got the heave-ho, mostly rightfully. The architect selection advisory panel, made up of architectural professionals and involved citizens, has gone for a mix of the respectable (Pelli, Foster), the new and exciting (OMA, Holl), and the local (ZGF), with no absolute stinkers in the mix. ZGF, Holl, and Pelli have all done recent buildings in Seattle, and Foster's slate of built work, mostly in Europe, is immense. The one wild card is OMA, who have done very little work in America, but are well known due to principal architect Rem Koolhaas' books Delirious New York and S, M, L, XL.

The architects' "Statements of Qualifications"--the primary criteria in their selections--are available at the arts desk of the downtown library. Looking them over, it's clear that ZGF, Foster, and Pelli can deliver elegant, expensive-looking buildings, and Holl can make beautiful, graceful ones, but only OMA has a passionate engagement with the idea of the library: they use their statement to showcase three as-yet unbuilt projects for other libraries which show intense ingenuity and vision. The five firms will publicly present their work on Monday, May 10, 11 am-5 pm, at Benaroya Hall. The firms will then be given two-day assignments, which they will present on Wednesday, May 12, 1-6 pm, at the downtown library. The architect for the new library will be chosen on the basis of his work over those two days.

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The Artist Formerly Known As Prince has announced (on his website, at www.love4oneanother.com) that he'll re-record his entire back catalog, since his former record label, Warner Brothers, refuses to give back the master recordings, which they own by contract. With any luck, this will keep him too busy to record any more commercially suicidal triple- or quadruple-CD sets of new material.