Citygreen / Case StudiesStratacell soil cells installed at Seattle’s iconic Nordic Museum

Stratacell soil cells installed...

Stratacell soil cells installed at Seattle’s iconic Nordic Museum

Nordic Museum, Seattle

The Nordic Museum in Seattle celebrates the art, values and traditions of the Nordic peoples. Founded in 1980, it is the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to preserving the legacy of immigrants from the 5 Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The museum is situated in northern Seattle, close to Salmon Bay. It is part of an old harbour industrial zone, which is undergoing revitalisation. Prior to Citygreen’s involvement, the museum was given a modern makeover, with a refreshed façade and renovations. However, the environment was completely hardscape, with no green space around the building.


Project goals

The key goal of this project was to create architectural impact with street trees to complement the refurbished building. The vision was to bring softscape elements into the hardscape environment by creating a micro urban forest, which would make the museum more modern and welcoming to visitors.

Nordic Museum, Seattle


Project execution

Accessibility and sustainability are institutional priorities for the Nordic Museum, so it was important to use practical, green infrastructure. Citygreen supported the landscape architects at Mithun in Seattle to provide an efficient, environmentally-friendly solution using Stratacell soil cells.

The Stratacell system was chosen for its ability to maximise soil volume within a confined space – in this case, the steps at the building’s entrance. Soil volume is key to all trees, however it’s even more critical in the landing of a staircase. Citygreen’s soil cells were the only kind that could be cut to maximise the soil volume in this uniquely shaped planting area. Plus, Stratacell is made from 100% recycled materials, so it fit with the museum’s sustainability goals.

The Stratacell soil cells were installed inside the step area at the museum’s entrance. Trees were added for instant greenery, providing eye-catching contrast against the hard-built elements.

Nordic Museum, Seattle

Project challenges

The footings within the staircase presented a substantial challenge for the landscape architects. Working around these footings proved difficult in terms of both design and construction. However, the Citygreen team was heavily involved from the beginning, working closely with Mithun to produce detailed CAD drawings with lots of cuts. Citygreen’s U.S. project team were also on-site during the build, answering questions and supporting the contractors during the Stratacell installation.


Project outcomes

The Nordic Museum is now home to healthy trees with deep roots, which significantly brighten its entrance. The softscape integrations look fantastic, and the growth of the street trees has been outstanding. Visitors are enjoying the welcoming vibe at the revamped museum – and stakeholders are thrilled the results were achieved using sustainable systems.