Seattle Public Library | Rem Koolhaas OMA

• September 10, 2008

seattle public library2 Seattle Public Library | Rem Koolhaas OMA

Project: Seattle Public Library
Design architect: Rem Koolhaas OMA
Local architects: LMN Architects, Seattle
Location: Seattle, Washington
Size: 362,987 square feet

After 4 year of the project’s completion, the Seattle Public Library celebrates it’s “Libraries for All” building program. The Central Library in downtown Seattle was opened in May 2004, which was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

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.

Here is an interview between Seattle Times and Rem Koolhaas. During the interview, Mr Rem Koolhaas has stated,

Basically the Books Spiral was kind of for us an architectural way of undoing some of the sadness of the typical library, where it kind of really divided in a number of compartments that have very dull-sounding names like “humanity,” “sciences,” blah, blah, blah. We felt that those categories are not necessarily the most exciting and encouraging categories in terms of dividing a library, so it enabled us to create an undivided sequence of books where of course the divisions actually exist and all the kind of cataloging systems perform their task, but the point was to create a kind of single, undivided sequence, because we felt that one of the points of a library was that there are accidents and that you find yourself in areas where you didn’t expect to be and where you kind of look at books that are not necessarily the books that you’re aiming for. So it was to create a kind of almost arbitrariness — or to create a kind of walking experience, an almost kind of urban walk … a kind of Rotterdam, a very efficient, direct aiming for limited destinations.

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, Los Angeles Times

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Category: Architecture, Education

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