Seattle Central Library

The new building of the Seattle Central Library is located in downtown Seattle (1000 4th Avenue) and occupies a full city block delimited by 4th and 5th Avenue, and Madison and Spring Street. After the initial international competition in 1998, the building opened to the public in May 23, 2004.

This 11 story glass and steel structure has a unique form derived from the interior positioning of several discrete floating platforms (housing the different programs of the library) wrapped by a glass skin and steel net structure. The Seattle Central Library was designed by the Dutch architect and Pritzker Prize and Mies van der Rohe Prize winner Rem Koolhaas and his office OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) in collaboration with the Seattle based office LMV. From the beginning, this design has been widely debated and its impact has been profound since, as Herbert Muschamp puts it, “apart from its strengths in structure, form and space, the building exemplifies Koolhaas’s reliance on the architectural program: the organization of space according to use and function”. Love it or loathe it, no one is indifferent to this design, evidenced by both the volume of material generated about this building and the large number of visitors attracted. Architectural tours of the building began on June 2006, after which, visitors are presented with a fold paper model of the building.


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