Seattle Central Library

seattle central library

The Seattle Central Library is an 11-story glass and steel building located in downtown Seattle, Washington. The library’s striking and unique appearance makes it one of the more identifiable buildings in the Seattle area. Its architecture has made it quite popular that architectural tours on the building have started since 2006.

Building History

The site of the Seattle Central Library already have been the location of previous two libraries that have been constructed, extended and then rebuilt in order to accommodate the growing storage and access needs to the library of the growing Seattle population. It was eventually planned that a new library would have to be built on the same location in order to address these needs.

Funding for the construction of the new library was provided by the local government through a bond measure offer which was approved on November 3, 1998. Aside from that, the library construction also gained a $20 million donation from Bill Gates. The Seattle Central Library was designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, a Dutch architectural firm. They worked in collaboration with the Seattle firm LMN Architects.

Building Features

The Seattle Central Library was opened to the public on May 23, 2004. The building stands 185 feet or 56 meters high. The public library covers 362,987 square foot or 34,000 square meter area. The new facility can hold about 1.45 million books and other reading materials. It also has space for 400 computers that are also open to the public. It also provides parking space for 143 vehicles.

Building Design

The aim of the design of the Seattle Central Library was a celebration of books, an ancient invention still widely welcome even in the Digital Age. The architects also wanted to create a library that looks inviting to the public rather than the usual perception that people have of such a facility. The building’s unusually sharp, glass and steel structure is unlike the modular structure that usually associated with conventional buildings.

The building from the outside looks like a complex prism of diamond shaped windows that reflect the environment surrounding it. This glass and steel mesh exterior is actually a second structure housing the primary building inside. It also helps provide additional bracing against the wind and earthquakes as well as provide lighting to the interiors.

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