© Phillipe Ruault

Seattle Central library

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Adreça
1000 Fourth Avenue, WA 98104 Seattle, USA
Any
2004
Program

Total 38,300m2, including 33,700m2 reading room, book spiral, mixing chamber, meeting platform, living room, staff floor, children's collection, auditorium, and 4,600m2 of parking

Client
The Seattle Public Library

Budget
$111.9 million

Collaborators
Structural: Arup, Cecil Balmond, Atila Zekioglu, Anders Carlson, Chris Carroll
MEP: Alistair Guthrie, Bruce McKinlay, Stephen Jolly, John Gautrey, Aung Oo, Vahik Davoudi, Amanda Brownlee, Russell Fortmeyer, Tony Cocea, Marina Solovchuk, Fiona Cousins, Christin Whitco
Fire: Armin Wolski, Jim Quiter
IT & A/V: Jonathan Phillips, Raymond Tam, Eric Lockwood, Menandro Domingo Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Structural: Jon Magnusson, Jay Taylor, Derek Beaman, Hans Blomgren, Nathalie Boeholt Civil: Drew Gagnes, Darin Stephens
Acoustics: Michael Yantis Associates – Michael Yantis, Basel Jurdy
ADA: McGuire Associates – Kevin McGuire
Artists: Ann Hamilton, Gary Hill, Tony Oursler
Cost: Davis Langdon Adamson – Steve Kelly, David Hudd, Alice Nguyen
Environmental Graphics: Bruce Mau Design
Facades: Dewhurst Macfarlane & Partners – Marc Simmons, Yu-Ting Chen
Facade Pre-construction Services: Seele GmbH – Gerhard Seele, Siegfried Gossner, Thomas Geissler, Martin Kugler, Jenniffer Endress
Hardware: Gordon Adams Consulting – Gordon Adams
Interiors: OMA / LMN, Inside Outside: Petra Blaisse, Marieke van den Heuvel, Mathias Lehner, Lieuwe Conradie, Peter Niessen, Jaap de Vries, Maarten van Severen Landscape: Inside Outside / Jones & Jones – Ilze Jones, Jim Brighton, Shaney Clemmons Lighting: Kugler Tillotson Associates – Suzan Tillotson, Wai Mun Chui
Pre-construction Services: Hoffman Construction Washington – Doug Winn, Bob Vincent, Dale Stenning
Vertical Transport: KA Elevator Consulting – Daryl Anderson

OMA / LMN
– A Joint Venture Engineer: Arup / Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Principals: Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus (Partner in Charge)
Project Architects: Meghan Corwin, Mark von Hof-Zogrotzki, Bjarke Ingels, Carol Patterson, Natasha Sandmeier
Team: Keely Colcleugh, Rachel Doherty, Sarah Gibson, Laura Gilmore, Anna Little, John McMorrough, Kate Orff, Beat Schenk, Saskia Simon, Anna Sutor, Victoria Willocks, Dan Wood with Florence Clausel, Thomas Dubuisson, Chris van Duijn, Erez Ella, Achim Gergen, Eveline Jürgens, Antti Lassila, Hannes Peer, João Costa Ribeiro, Kristina Skoogh, Sybille Waeltli, Leonard Weil, Ali Arvanaghi

Local Architect: LMN Architects
Partner in charge: John Nesholm
Project Directors: Robert Zimmer and Sam Miller
Project Architects: Tim Pfeiffer, Steve DelFraino, Mary Anne Smith, Dave Matthews, Vern Cooley, Pragnesh Parikh
Team: Chris Baxter, Jim Brown, Wayne Flood, Thomas Gerard, Mette Greenshields, Cassandra Hryniw, Roy Kim, Ed Kranick, Ken Loddeke, Howard Liu, Damien McBride, Howard Meeks, Byron Rice, Kathy Stallings, Page Swanberg

Awards
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification
2005 Honor Award for Outstanding Architecture American Institute of Architects
2005 Outstanding Library Building Award
American Institute of Architects and American Library Association
2005 Platinum Award for Innovation and Engineering American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 

At a moment when libraries are perceived to be under threat from a shrinking public realm on one side and digitization on the other, the Seattle Central Library creates a civic space for the circulation of knowledge in all media, and an innovative organizing system for an ever-growing physical collection – the Books Spiral. The library’s various programmes are intuitively arranged across five platforms and four flowing “in between” planes, which together dictate the building’s distinctive faceted shape, which offers the city an inspiring building that is robust in both its elegance and its logic

OMA’s ambition is to redefine the library as an institution no longer exclusively dedicated to the book, but rather as an information store where all potent forms of media – new and old – are presented equally and legibly. In an age in which information can be accessed anywhere, it is the simultaneity of media and (more importantly) the curatorship of its contents that will make the library vital.

Our first operation was to “comb” and consolidate the library’s apparently ungovernable proliferation of programmes and media. We identified five “stable” programmatic clusters (parking, staff, meeting, Book Spiral, HQ) and arranged them on overlapping platforms, and four “unstable” clusters (kids, living room, Mixing Chamber, reading room) to occupy interstitial zones. Each area is architecturally defined and equipped for dedicated performance, with varying size, flexibility, circulation, palette, and structure.

The Mixing Chamber, centrally located on the third floor, is an area of maximum librarian- patron interaction – a trading floor for information orchestrated to fulfill an essential (though often neglected) need for expert interdisciplinary help. Librarians guide readers up into the Books Spiral, a continuous ramp of shelving forming a co-existence between categories that approaches the organic: each evolves relative to the others, occupying more or less space on the Spiral, but never forcing the ruptures within sections that bedevil traditional library plans. Upon the opening of the Seattle Central Library, the Spiral’s 6,233 bookcases housed 780,000 books, and can accommodate growth up to 1,450,000 books in the future, without adding more bookcases. 

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