Brutal Beauty

April 8th, 2005

I spent some time at Seattle’s Central Library a couple of weeks ago with Brian Libby and was struck by its bold design. Rem Koolhaas has single handedly reinvented the concept of the library, but not without controversy. Some patrons have criticized the disappearance of books (I think printed material only occupies about 30% of the space) while others have lamented the lack of cozy spaces where one can curl-up with their favorite novel. But I’d like to argue the virtues of this new library though. It has been designed to work with technology, not push it off to the side. The books are there (although admittedly many are not readily accessible), but the focus has turned to accessing and managing the explosion of digital information. Yeah, I guess Koolhaas’ building might be a “brutal beauty” as its been describe recently, but aesthetics aside, I believe this building will gracefully evolve to serve Seattle well over the coming decades.

Entry Filed under: Architecture

2 Comments

  • 1. Valarie  |  April 8th, 2005 at 5:12 pm

    I think you’re right about the focus turning to the managing of digital information. That’s very interesting. I wish a similar reconceptualization would go on with airports. Airports are not well-used spaces and are no longer equipped to deal with the post-9/11 demands that are made on them. They weren’t so great pre-9/11, either.

  • 2. Paul  |  April 18th, 2005 at 9:06 pm

    Ned, Your photos and film are the Shiite.


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