Seattle’s Public Library
Not much is left to say about this iconic monument designed by Rem Koolhas. Millions of words have been written about it since it was inaugurated in May 23rd 2004. But that is not going to keep me from sharing my own opinion since I recently had the opportunity to visit it and experience it for a while.
I have to say I have always been fascinated by the program this library hosts and, moreover, the way it’s organized. Every single part of the library is related somehow, by pavement, visually or by hearing to the next spaces immediately above/below. It’s complexity is superior but at the same time is an extremely easy building to wonder around, is intuitive (stairs are always bright colors). The library little by little takes you upwards to gently invite you then to visit the “BOOK SPIRAL” to go back down again.
We could say that all this vertical communication system starts in the second floor, where 5th avenue entrance is located. The main entrance is located in 4th avenue and a level below, where the kids area is located. As you can see in the diagrams, the specialization of the spaces and, therefore, the movement inwards and outwards starts with the living room.
The rest has all been said and can be seen in the plans easily, double, triple height spaces, glass skin that works both as a brise soleil and as structure simultaneously, different carpets with crazy patterns that create different atmospheres is a same space, and fancy names that awake curiosity in people’s minds.
All come together in this master piece that, in my honest opinion, was the precedence for more modern libraries to be designed, to stark thinking more in how people use space, in how something that apparently may look monstrous and crazy from the outside, is fully justifies by program and also dynamic and welcoming.