Archive for ‘Balmond Cecil | Balmond Studio’

May 16, 2011

Seattle Public Library, Main Branch #3, Seattle, WA

ID: 3151

Alt. Name:

Seattle Public Library, Central Library #3, Seattle, WA
Seattle Library Downtown Branch #3, Seattle, WA

Construction Date:

Start Date: 2000   End Date: 2004

Building History:

Competition occurred in 1999, among five invited firms: Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Rotterdam, Netherlands; Steven Holl, New York, NY; Norman Foster and Partners, London, UK; Cesar Pelli, New Haven, CT; and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF), Portland, OR; finalists were OMA, Steven Holl, and ZGF; OMA awarded the contract in September 1999; OMA Partners-in-Charge: Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus; LMN Partner-in-Charge: John Nesholm; Seattle City Librarian, Deborah Jacobs, collaborated with OMA and LMN closely on the project; Jacobs emphasized a collaborative approach to design, eliciting ideas from the public and staff in frequent meetings; renowned engineer, Cecil Balmond, Chairman of Europe & Building Division at Arup, the huge engineering firm, participated in the engineering work on the building; Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners engineered the glass curtain wall façade; the curtain wall was awarded an American Institute of Architects Washington Chapter 2000 Award; Hoffman Construction Company was the building contractor; subsequent to the building’s completion, a dispute arose over cost over-runs between Hoffman Construction and the administration of the Seattle Public Library; Bruce Mau Design Incorporated, Toronto, ON, consulted on the library’s signage; Petra Blaisse was the landscape architect; in 1999, the scheduled completion date was 2003, although several factors conspired to delay the opening: asbestos removal from the old library was slow, the construction company experienced excavation problems, a retaining wall on Fifth Avenue needed extra repairs, and delays occurred in the ordering of the steel members forming for the facade; the building actually opened Sunday, 05/23/2004;

Structure Type:

built works – social and civic buildings – libraries


1000 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA
map latlong or map of street number


Arup, Ove , (1438)
Balmond, Cecil , (1969)
Blaisse, Petra , (1958)
Brown, Jim , (1899)
Dewhurst, Laurence , (1698)
Hoffman, Lee Hawley , (1700)
Hunter, Adam , (1898)
Koolhaas, Rem , (1180)
Loschky, George , (1956)
Macfarlane, Timothy , (1699)
Marquardt, Judsen , (1957)
Mau, Bruce , (505)
McBride, Damien , (1897)
Nesholm, John F., (1578)
Ramus, Joshua , (1577)
Zimmer, Robert , (1618)


Arup, Ove, and Partners (1011)
Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners, Structural Engineers (1219)
Hoffman Construction Company (1220)
Inside / Outside, Landscape Architects (1408)
Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN) (1127)
Mau, Bruce, Design Incorporated (1221)
Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) (794)


Knecht, Barbara, “Defining Component-Based Design”, Architectural Record, 153-160, 7/2004. 
Olson, Sheri, “How Seattle learned to stop worrying and love Rem Koolhaas’plans for a new Central Library”,Architectural Record, 120-125, 8/2000. 
Olson, Sheri, “Thanks to OMA’s blending of cool information technology and warm public spaces Seattle’s Central Library kindles book lust”, Architectural Record, 192: 7, 88-101, 7/2004. 
Lamprecht, Barbara, “The nice and the good: library, Seattle, USA”, Architectural Review, 216: 1290, 52-57, 
“Been there”, Architecture Boston, 9: 1, 14-19, 01-02/2006. 
Kipnis, Jeffrey, “A Time for Freedom”, Architecture Interruptus, 18-20, 2007. 
“Bibliothek in Seattle”, Arch Plus, 156: 56-65, 5/2001. 
Hantzschel, Jarg, “Zentralbibliothek in Seattle”, Baumeister, 101: 7, 40-49, 7/2004. 
Clausen, Meredith L., “Infopools und atmende Bucherregale : Entwurf Offentliche Bibliothek Seattle”, Bauwelt, 94: 27-28, 22-24, 7/25/2003. 
“Seattle Central Library”, GA Document, 80: Front cover, 8-61, 6/2004. 
“Seattle Public Library”, Library Journal, 130: 2, 15, 02/01/2005. 
“Algoritmi genetici: il diagramma delle funzioni trasformato in forma spettacolare in tre progetti di OMA a Seattle, Berlino e Seul = Genetic algorithm: the functional diagram transformed in spectacular fashion in three projects by OMA in Seattle, Berlin and Seoul.”, Lotus International, 127: 52-65, 
Ouroussoff, Nicolai, “Civic Boosterism Never Looked So Sexy”, New York Times, 2, 46, 12/26/2004. 
Patton, Phil, “DESIGN; I Like the New Car, but I Love the New Building”, New York Times, 7, 10/26/2005. 
Gunderson, Mary Parlato, “Letters to the Editor: Libraries Venues are sanctuaries for creative imaginations”,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B7, 11/16/2007. 
“Library architect earns Pritzker Prize”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 04/17/2000. 
Marshall, John Douglas, “Rem’s bling-bling ; the library Rem Koolhaas almost didn’t get the chance to design”,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, F1, 5/23/2004. 
Mulady, Kathy, “Library steeling for work delays”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B3, 3/26/2003. 
Manahan, William W., “Letters to the Editor: Mountains of praise tempered by critical look”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, D3, 04/01/2007. 
“Plans for new library unveiled today: Architect will show conceptual drawings at Benaroya meeting”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer , C7, 12/15/1999. 
Eskenazi, Stuart, “Something for everyone”, Seattle Times, A1, A12, 09/12/2008. 
Gilmore, Susan, “Library funds put back into city’s budget”, Seattle Times, B2, 11/13/2009. 
“Rahner Q & A Rem Koolhaas”, Seattle Times, E1-E2, 09/09/2008. 
“Nordstrom + The Library + Frederick and Nelson + The Convention Center + The Mayor + Developers = The Deal That Ate Downtown”, Seattle Weekly, 17-21, 23-25, 02/09/1994. 
Lacayo, Richard, “Rem Koolhaas”, Time, 171: 19, 105, 05/12/2008. 


Bruce Mau Design Inc. (646) Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners Engineering structures worldwide (645) LMN Architects (752) News Release 20 April 1999 Library Board narrows list of architects to design new central library on April 22 (1605) Office of Metropolitan Architecture (744) On Architecture: How the new central library really stacks up (1913) Seattle downtown library: a modern marvel? (3431) Seattle Public Library (747)Seattle’s Eccentric ‘Book Behemoth’ Shatters Stereotypes (1778)