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The IKEA Library

I visited the new Seattle Central Library yesterday with shellyinseattle, and I'm a convert. It's definitely not a typical American design: the colors tend toward neon and the design sense made me think of IKEA with a much bigger budget. I suspect I'll be visiting often, as its almost a perfect environment for writing, with:

  • huge 50 foot ceilings in the lower levels,

  • exterior walls that are all window, in every direction, including straight down,

  • views to Mt. Rainier and the Sound,

  • free wireless connections throughout for your laptop,

  • a one-way escalator to heaven up to the stacks

  • hundreds of computers

  • and easy spiralling access to the collections.

Many sections are merely functional (the furniture is bright, but durable), and the concrete, pipes, rivets and so forth are all exposed. And yet it's all done with enough of a sense of fun that it's not grating. I have no idea how the library will wear over decades, and the impact of 25,000 visitors on opening day was already apparent in scratches, scuffs, and even one bit of torn plaster in the stacks. But right now, it's a shiny new toy. I'll be heading back over the weekend.


May. 25th, 2004 07:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Seattle library collection was in a temporary holding area for a couple years, and the simultaneous restorations of many local branches meant we were without a bookish place for quite a while. The fact that its a very modern building rather than a dark, oppressive, Harold Washington, old-style public building just pleases me no end.

And having all the nonfiction collections so easily available is a huge plus for me. I could burble on for quite a while, but the Seattle Central Library pictures do it justice as well.

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