MuggleNet Visits the Diagon Alley Seattle Project!
Stepping into this local driveway known as the Diagon Alley Project is like stepping right into the wizarding world. Without a doubt, Jonathan Chambers and his family have brought magic to the Pacific Northwest. Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, this community effort has grown into something truly spectacular.
We sat in Chambers’ workshop, filled with creative musings and additions to the Project, including 3D printed dragon head door knockers and the beginnings of a Nimbus 2000, to discuss his inspirations, success, and favorite moments of the alley.
It all began as a simple idea to do something fun in the spacious driveway for Halloween. When one of his daughters suggested Diagon Alley, Chambers couldn’t refuse. Chambers, who has always had a passion for art and design, found the project to be a perfect creative outlet to get back to his construction roots. From the turrets and towers of Ollivanders to the faded and finished look of Flourish and Blotts, Chambers’ favorite building on the street, there is no shortage of amazing constructional feats that give a truly immersive feel to all who wander through.
According to Chambers, “It’s like being in a gallery with your artwork on the wall. There’s nothing better.” The construction of the alley truly became a neighborhood affair, with volunteers chipping in wherever they could, and one neighbor, Bill, did the roof work for each building.
Since its opening in October, the Diagon Alley Project has seen thousands of people through its doors, been the location of three successful marriage proposals, witnessed one super-fan faint, and raised thousands of dollars for charity. The family is currently raising money to support research for pancreatic cancer, a cause that they are deeply passionate about.
When asked about the success of the project, Chambers said, “I knew it would be popular in the community, but I didn’t realize it would get the worldwide support it’s getting. It’s insane.”
With its incredible popularity, it only made sense to ask what was next. Beginning in January, the Project will expand and relocate to Camp Korey, a camp to support children and families living with serious medical conditions. He hopes the expansion will include buildings you can step into and an exact replica of the Diagon Alley from the Potter books, including Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, and perhaps even the entrance to Knockturn Alley. The Project intends to begin a GoFundMe to help with the price of construction, as well as continuing to get the community involved as much as they can. Both the Leaky Cauldron and Gringotts, currently under construction, will be auctioned in April.
Chambers also gave a special exclusive tease just for MuggleNet on a very exciting future project. Without giving too much away, let’s just say fans may soon be able to burrow themselves even further into the world of Potter in a project of which Chambers is determined to “get every detail right.”
Be sure to check out the Diagon Alley Project Seattle on Facebook or at their website, as well as Chambers’ Instagram and Twitter, for even more photos and announcements of this amazing project! And if you’re ever in the Seattle area, we would highly recommend a visit to this magical driveway!