June 16, 2010

One of the other highlights that drew me to Seattle was the Seattle Central Library.

Photo by Ramon Prat

Designed by OMA and LMN architects, the library opened in 2004 as a stunning addition to Seattle's downtown.

Photo by Philippe Ruault

The exterior of the library is composed of diamonds of glass within a bold steel framework, which is placed at various angles, creating a dynamic shell for the space within.

I really loved how fresh the entire space was, and how the design team really took some great risks within the space. Sometimes you visit these interesting architectural marvels, and inside the space is a little dead. Sure there are amazing windows, but what else?
Here the escalators are punctuated with this amazing saturated yellow colour, taking a typically utilitarian space and making it a focal point. FYI the elevators were this colour inside too.

The meeting room level was this amazing organic space, finished in a bright glossy red, with red lighting. Very cool.

This perforated metal formed a transparent screen where you could view the main floor of the library. This material was also used on the main floor as ceiling panels that were inset into a t-bar grid, with downlights above, which helped to disguise the mechanical systems and less attractive lighting.

Although there were limited finishes used within the space, each choice was very unique and interesting from the rest. Edge grain wood floors, funky carpet patterns, perforated metal, glass, and high gloss coloured lacquer were some of the finishes that were most prominent. Typically interior palettes have some sort of cohesive element, but everything here was so very different and unusual.

I only focused on my experience with the interior of the space, but archdaily has an amazing article on this building that explores the entire design of the structure, and how the architects reimagined the organization of the library. It also has plans and sections of the structure to better understand how the whole thing is put together. They say it way better than I could, so I'm just going to direct you over there.


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