Seattle Central Library
Principal Designers: Rem Koolhas & Josh Ramus
Completed May 23, 2004
Bid Cost: $111.9 Million ($272/SF including "demolition of existing building, site improvements, contractor general conditions, overhead, and profit, bookcases, and all taxes" This might sound like a ton of money...but one detractor we encountered who was complaining that the entire book budget was spent on the architectural statement got his numbers off and claimed that the building cost 500 million.)
This is an impressive work of architecture...from the basic concept and form to the innovative details that seem durable, comfortable, and cost effective.
I wish I could find out where to buy the green jungle modular carpets. Supposedly by Lees, but I cannot find anything like it on their website.
If I saw photos of this building I would probably assume that the building was a bizarre, egotistical statement. It is a weird shape and the diamond shaped structural skin seems like something you would tire of...but I would be wrong. I think you have to see it in person...walk through the spaces...and witness the innovative details and materials.
Environmentalists might criticize: "The air-conditioning loads must be huge with all that glass!" But the high tech window system prevents heat gain. Many of the materials and components were chosen with energy efficiency and resource conservation as primary criteria.
Yes it is a very non-traditional library..but I think the greatest success of this building is that the non-traditional, creative details are actually carefully considered to achieve the desired effect on a tight budget. They are not iconoclastic just for the statement.
- Seattle Times: special section
- High-Tech Bibliophilia : The New Yorker
Online version of the weekly magazine, with current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925
- Muschamp: The library that puts on fishnets and hits the disco
- Architectural Record (info on suppliers, manufacturers, etc)