Design: The Best Public Library Ever

A great example of a public investment.

Today in Design we head to the Emerald City to visit the Seattle Central Library. Completed in May of 2004, this 363,000 square foot library is the furthest thing from the dark and stuffy one you grew up around. Costing approximately $166 million to build, the Seattle Public Library was a large investment, but the public’s warm reception has proven it was a worthy endeavor. Utilizing a glass and steel exoskeleton, plenty of natural light illuminates the vast spaces that house over 1.45 million books. Ascending 11 stories into the sky, architects designed the building to be as user friendly as possible. All nonfiction books are kept together in a “book spiral” that slowly spins up four stories to ensure the Dewey Decimal System is not broken up by separate floors. If you can’t find what you are looking for in the vast array of books, the public has access to 400 computers. Although the age of books appears to be quickly fading, the Seattle Central Library’s innovative design and welcoming feel has done a fantastic job of keeping people reading.