Monday, March 17, 2008

Seattle Public Library

Back in 2005, we visited Seattle. One of the things I wanted to see was the brand new Seattle Public Library.

picture from AIA

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) designed the library. As you can see, the library is very modern, and while the design team later reluctantly admitted to having a "style," Joshua Prince Ramus (former head of OMA’s US office) explains the rationale in this video.

We visited the library on our first day and were lucky enough to get a free public architecture tour.

The librarian desk and Reading Room

Reading in the Reading Room (really)

Overhead view of the Reading Room

Red stairs leading to meeting room level

The Red meeting room level

That chair is made from the same spongy stuff as a Nerf ball

Upper level Mixing Chamber

Unfortunately I couldn’t get accurate pictures of the main part the library, which is the Book Spiral. Essentially following the same principal as a parking garage, the Spiral allows the library to store their collection on one "level" so they don’t have to break up the Dewey Decimal system. In other libraries, because of space, collections usually need to be split. In the Spiral that never will happen.

We loved the openess of the building and the natural light that the glass exterior lets drift in. It was a risky move for the city to go forward with such a modern, almost brutal design, but once you are inside, you forget about that and just enjoy the atmosphere.

More about Seattle soon.

post by David

1 comment:

SpenceOhana said...

My very first project at Cal Poly in the architecture program was studying and building a model of one of Koolhaas' buildings. It was hard!