My son, Jonah and I visited the new Seattle Central Library a few weeks ago. I took these images during our visit. The building was designed by Rem Koolhaas and opened about two months ago. It’s brand spanking new and everybody in town is getting used to it. No doubt about it–it’s big, it’s bold. It’s certainly no shrinking violet. In a way, Seattle needs such a bold statement because, after all, architecture in this town is about as pedestrian as you can get. There hasn’t been a bold architectural statement made here in decades. So far so good.
But I must say that I wonder how functional the building interior will be. For example, in visiting the children’s reading room I was struck by how uninviting it is for children. There are long rows of children’s books in bookshelves. But few books are displayed at a child’s eye level in order to draw them into the reading experience. There are a few toys and a few comfortable chairs. But it’s just not warm and welcoming enough to do its job effectively.
I also would’ve thought there’d be a decent library cafe where one could eat lunch. Instead, there is a food truck in the main lobby which sells quite decent sandwiches. But a food truck is a far cry from a full-service café. These are a few quick impressions I had.
I wrote Seattle’s New Central Library around the time it was dedicated. This post contains some wonderful photographs by local photographers displayed in the local media before the opening.