30-09-2005

Seattle Public Library
Rem Koolhaas/OMA

OMA,

Seattle, USA,

Libraries,

Glass, Steel,

In his Seattle Public Library project, Rem Koolhas once more skifully demonstrates how architecture can establish complex, articulated, synergic relationships with the urban panorama.



Seattle Public Library<br> Rem Koolhaas/OMA The project concept book reads: "(...) new libraries don't reinvent or even modernize the traditional institution; they merely package it in a new way".
Inside Koolhas plays with interactions between the flat surfaces of the reading roods and the variable inclinations of the outer surface, the bizarreness of the colours and the choice of huge lettering to identify here the functions of the various areas, there the corridors corresponding to the numbers identifying the locations of volumes.
The powerful lozenge-shaped grid of the external coating of steel and glass rests on the large reading rooms, offering natural lighting, unusual in a place of reflection: here light and shadow star in a loose, geometric weave projected directly onto the reading desks.

Visitors access various areas via a reception desk whose purpose is identified in lower-case lettering the same height as the desk.
The rows of bookshelves are identified by adhesive numerical codes on the floor.

The wallpaper is purple in the reading rooms, with a striped carpet reminiscent of the paths of automobiles through the urban fabric, phosphorescent yellow escalators, and a lacquer red meeting room are the terms of an eclectic scenographic vocabulary, ever-changing, never excessive or outside the lines.
At night, the library and its inclusion in the city recall scenes in certain films sensitive to representation of the contemporary metropolis: light - rapid, dynamic, secure - runs over the volumes, draws them, sculpts them, flatters them, returning them vibrantly to a new race, that of life in the city.

Francesca Oddo

Biography of Rem Koolhaas, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)

http://www.oma.nl

The Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104-1109
Tel: 206-386-4636
http://www.spl.org
libraryweb@spl.org

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