I recently came back from a conference in Seattle. While I was there I visited the new Seattle Public Library building which opened about 2 1/2 years ago. This urban library is something to see with its unusualarchitecture and building layout. For information about the building, designed by Rem Koolhaas, go to http://www.arcspace.com/architects/koolhaas/Seattle/ . For a fabulous slide show on the library web site go to http://www.spl.org/images/slideshow/NewCentralSlideshow.asp. Notice the bright colors (the elevator is chartreuse and when you get off at the 4th floor it is totally red!) and the very large words to identify areas. Also note the areas that are named for local corporate donors (Microsoft, Starbucks). Large Dewey numbers are located on the floor to identify book stacks.
At the entrance to Library headquarters is a quote from Andrew Carnegie, the wealthy industrialist who endowed libraries throughout the United States about 100 years ago. “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”
The evening I was there, there were people everywhere, adults, teens and children. I wasn’t sure it was a place I would like to work but the public seems to love it.
What stood out from my visit was the glass, steel and color. And I have to admit that the more I look at the pictures the more I like it. Take a look yourself and let me know what you think.