Seattle has some pretty amazing libraries. Maybe it’s all of the rain and people need nice places to stay inside where they can read books. Of course there is the amazing Seattle Central Library downtown which was designed by Rem Koolhaas. I shot some photos if it in 2005 at the Gnomedex 5 Networking Bash.
Last month when we visited the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, we parked across the street from the Ballard Branch of The Seattle Public Library. I had spotted this stunning building on a previous trip, so this time I decided to shoot some photos of it this time around. The building combines elements of the neighborhood’s Scandinavian and maritime culture in an very modern, eco-friendly design.
Here’s a great article on this library from the Seattle Weekly which includes the following highlights of the building:
– An 18,000-square-foot sod roof, which provides thermal insulation, serves as bird habitat, and moderates rain runoff. Any water not used by plants is filtered through the soil and slowly released.
– Two types of solar collectors: standard roof-mounted panels and an innovative model that uses photovoltaic glazing inside vertical panes of glass. Both collect solar energy, which is fed back into the city’s electricity grid, reducing the project’s reliance on power supplied by Seattle City Light.
– Functional public art that monitors and displays data about the microclimate around the structure. Wind direction and speed, energy use, light, and rainfall are artistically presented along building spines.
– High air quality through use of recycled materials and by applying internal finishes outside the building, which will reduce interior “off-gassing” by building-material chemicals. Air intakes are positioned to exploit prevailing breezes.
– Conservation of old-growth trees. The 1-and-a-half-foot wood beams are actually smaller pieces of yellow pine glued together, enabling use of smaller lumber.
– Pedestrian-friendly touches. Twenty-Second Avenue was rezoned as a pedestrian-oriented street. Librarians will encourage ride sharing, public transportation, bicycling, and walking.
Here’s more information on this building from The American Institute of Architects.