Seattle Public Library

Seattle Public Library
2004 Seattle, Washington

Central Library
1000 Fourth Ave Seattle, WA 98104 - 1109

Architect : Rem Koolhaas [OMA]

The stacks, arranged along a continuous spiral ramp contained within a four-story slab, reinforce a sense of a world organized with machine-like precision...   - Nicolai Ouroussoff /Topic :Los Angeles Times
The new Seattle Public Library houses the library's main collection of books, government publications, periodicals, audio visual materials and the technology to access and distribute information from the physical collection online. The building is divided into eight horizontal layers, each varying in size to fit its function. A structural steel and glass skin unifies the multifaceted form and defines the public spaces in-between.

d0079151_1362132.jpgThe library sits on a steep urban site with a 29-foot (8.8-meter) height difference between its boundaries on Fourth and Fifth Avenues. At the corner of Fifth and Madison, the wedge-shaped base of the library diminishes nearly to a point. A further dramatic change of scale occurs at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the building. The visitor enters a vast "Living Room," a large unprogrammed space that offers Seattleites an alternative to brand-name coffee shops as a place to relax, socialize, read, and connect wirelessly to the Internet. Situated on a sloping site between 4th and 5th street the new library will have entrances on both street levels.The entrance level on 4th Street, one of Seattle's main thoroughfares, houses the Children's Library and foreign-language resources.


Continuous Collection Image courtesy OMA 2000 / Koolhaas sees the new library as a custodian of the book, a showcase for new information, a place for thought, discussion and reflection - a dynamic presence.
The fact that the contents of a whole library can be stored on a single chip, or the fact that a single library can now store the digital content of all libraries, together represent potential rethinking: new forms of storage enable the space dedicated to real books to be contained; new forms of reading enhance the aura of the real book. Our first operation has been the "combining" and consolidation of the apparently ungovernable proliferation of programs and media. By combining like with like, we have identified five platforms, each a programmatic cluster that is architecturally defined and equipped for maximum, dedicated performance. Because each platform is designed for a unique purpose, they are different in size, density, opacity.The in-between spaces are like trading floors where librarians inform and stimulate, where the interface between the different platforms is organized - spaces for work, interaction, and play. (And reading).

by another29 | 2005-06-27 01:28 | □Architecture

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