Last weekend, I visited Seattle’s Central Library designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, located in the heart of Downtown Seattle, and decided to analyze the elements it used in constructing this unique building.
The whole building was constructed with steel and glass, with odd angles and glass reflection creating striking views from the exterior (Fig.1) The library plays with form and light, with glass windows extend to the sky and the interior expands itself to the public space (Fig.2)
Fig1. Exterior View of Seattle Central Library.
Fig2. Natural light flooding into the interior creating interesting shadows.
The library plays with different types of lines creating a fun environment with changing views. The linear lines are shown in the Book Spirals, one of the features in the library that spirals up four stories with continuous shelves (Fig.3) Diagonal lines in the steel and glass construction, suggest movement and direction (Fig.4) Curve lines are shown at the library entrance led by the red hallways (Fig.5)
Fig3. Continuous linear shelves of Book Spiral.
Fig4. Impressive sight of floor to ceiling diagonal steel with glasses.
Fig5. The curving walls and ceiling invite visitors to the red hall.
The library plays with eye-catching colors, especially red and yellow. The red hall made me so dizzy! (Fig.6) I was also surprised by the use of illuminated neon yellow in escalators and stairs (Fig.7&8)
Fig6.The bloody red used in wall, floor and ceiling on the whole floor.
Fig7. Neon Yellow escalator are easy to spot and help visitors’ orientation.
Fig8. They also highlights and adds drama to the open space.
This large steel and glass box didn’t make visitors feel enormous or cold, but an intimate space for people to gather. Seattle’s Central Library integrates both functionality and aesthetic with changing form, line and color.