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Seattle Central Library

Updated on March 8, 2011

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.

dramatic diamond shadows on flooring made from wood scraps and elegant round registers
dramatic diamond shadows on flooring made from wood scraps and elegant round registers
jungle green carpet tiles
jungle green carpet tiles
mausmi and fern garden in the lobby
mausmi and fern garden in the lobby
Central atrium from above
Central atrium from above
wall of concrete, (jodie and jason on balcony)
wall of concrete, (jodie and jason on balcony)
Vina Rust examines aluminum and steel structure
Vina Rust examines aluminum and steel structure
Toft and Deeds on the red floor
Toft and Deeds on the red floor
dewey decimal system
dewey decimal system

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