Seattle Public Library - Central Library
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
(Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus) with LMN
eleven-level Seattle Library is wrapped in
a diamond-shapedcurtain wall that folds and cantilevers
onto the street. The diagonal structural grid of the curtain wall acts
as a seismic brace and resists wind load. Steel
mesh within the glazing reduces
heat and glare.
A multi-story truss
system contains the main stacks at the upper floors, and in turn is
cantilevered over the public plaza, freeing the plaza space of columns. The
curtain wall leans diagonally onto the truss cantilever. Columns are
grouped at the center of the building, along with
the main concrete lift core, creating a dynamic, free
interior is made up of a variety of spaces that starts at the ‘living room‘,
and includes a public plaza and the open, 275-seat
auditorium. The spatial variety circulates upwards to the ‘mixing chamber‘
or reference area, and to evermore diverse open
meeting spaces, culminating at the top floor quiet reading space.
many Koolhaas buildings, one is seldom at
eye-level from one space to another. This is most evident when circulating
vertically within narrow escalators that cut through the upper-floor
book stacks, which in turn spiral up four levels
on a two-degree slope. The sloped spiral stacks
house the majority of the non-fiction collection; the
spiralavoids the need to break up the
collection on different levels as in traditional libraries. One is also
never far from looking down onto the plaza, which
provides a good orientation mark at each level.
is used to define different interior functions. Against the black ceiling
and grey interior palette, these colored areas are great wayfinding devices
- such as the illuminated, bright yellow
acrylic panels for the escalators and lifts. The black ceiling also
accentuates the vertical nature of large public gathering spaces. Sandwiched
between the grand plaza and reference area are the
closed meeting rooms, defined by
the red floor and curved
walls and ceiling.
Hakee Chang 2005
How to visit
library is located on a major thoroughfare to downtown,
between Spring and Madison Streets and Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The
building occupies the entire city block so you really can’t miss it.
open Monday thru Wednesday, from 10am to 8pm; Thursday thru Saturday,
from 10am to 6pm; and Sunday from 1 to 5pm.
car via Interstate 5:
From the north, exit 165B at Union Street, and
follow Union three blocks west to Fifth Street.Turn left on Fifth and go south three blocks to Spring
Street. The library is on the right.
From the south, exit 165 at Seneca Street, and
follow Seneca Street one block west. Turn left on Fifth Avenue and go
south one block to Spring Street. The library is on the right.