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Seattle Public Library Rem Koolhaas

Seattle Public LibraryRem KoolhaasDaisy Jazmn Lpez RodrguezA00515582History and Architecture of the City IV

Rem KoolhaasRem Koolhaas, one of the world's leading architects and urban theorists, became known after he cofounded OMA (The Office for Metropolitan Architecture) in 1975.

He also heads AMO, the research-oriented, conceptual division of OMA, which focuses on social, economic and technological solutions to urbanization.

The award-winning Dutchman is a Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard's Graduate School of Design

Has published a number of books, includingDelirious New York(1978),S,M,L,XL(1995) andLiving Vivre Leben(1998).

Description of the BuildingArchitects:OMA +LMN

(Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus (Partner-in-Charge), with Mark von Hof-Zogrotzki, Natasha Sandmeier, Meghan Corwin, Bjarke Ingels, Carol Patterson)

Location:Seattle, Washington, USA

Program:Central library for Seattles 28-branch library system, including 33,700 sqm of hq, reading room, book spiral, mixing chamber, meeting platform, living room, staff floor, childrens collection, and auditorium, and 4,600 sqm of parking.

Constructive systemIn general the structure is composed of both load-bearing and seismic systems. The load-bearing system, in the form of columns and beams, supports the elevated platforms containing program spaces.

The seismic structure I-beam steel arranged in lattice like geometry connects platform to platform, providing bracing during a seismic event. While both systems exist to ensure the buildings stability, they each create different conditions for the support of the curtain wall.

The predominant mullion system, sloping in both an overslung (skylight) and underslung (reverse skylight) orientation, became the basis for many design development studies. The final design incorporates a diamond module that marries the most efficient use of nonstandard glass panel shapes with adequate steel spanning capacity.

Since it is directly supported on seismic steel, this particular system incorporates a thinner overall depth with a thickened aluminum section to allow for greater spanning ability and fewer support connections. As a result, the engineered mullion system relies on only two connection points per diamond.

The slots provide multiple planes of adjustment, allowing holes connecting steel and aluminum to align.

A different mullion system had to be developed for the vertical glass facades. Unlike the sloping facades, seismic steel is not needed for structural support.

When viewed from the exterior, the appearance of both the vertical and sloped mullion systems match. On the interior however, the deeper aluminum profile of the vertical mullion body adds sufficient strength to sustain lateral curtain-wall loads between floors.

Except for the roof, louvers, and exposed concrete foundation walls, the exterior envelope is comprised entirely of vision glass.

To combat increased solar heat gain experienced during the summer months, an aluminum expanded metal mesh interlayer was chosen for the glass panels receiving the most sun.The meshs mini-louvers provide shielding of direct sun as well as views to the exterior through the mesh.

To waterproof the building in Seattles rainy climate, Seele designed three levels of defense into the system: the exterior aluminum mullion cap with premolded silicone gaskets; insulated glazing panels with flexible butyl tape applied along every joint between panels; and silicone gaskets molded to fit the interior surface of the mullion body. While the mullion cap, seals, and glass keep most of the water from entering the system, the next two layers channel any remaining moisture to weep holes along the lower edge of each faade.

Formal compositionPrograms are not separated, rooms or individual spaces not given unique characters. In practice, this means that bookcases define generous (though nondescript) reading areas on opening day, but, through the collections relentless expansion, inevitably come to encroach on the public space. Ultimately, in this form of flexibility, the library strangles the very attractions that differentiate it from other information resources

Instead of its current ambiguous flexibility, the library could cultivate a more refined approach by organizing itself into spatial compartments, each dedicated to, and equipped for, specific duties. Tailored flexibility remains possible within each compartment, but without the threat of one section hindering the others.

Spatial attributesEach platform is a programmatic cluster that is architecturally defined and equipped for maximum, dedicated performance. Because each platform is designed for a unique purpose, their size, flexibility, circulation, palette, structure, and MEP vary.The spaces in between the platforms function as trading floors where librarians inform and stimulate, where the interface between the different platforms is organizedspaces for work, interaction, and play.

In 1920, the Seattle Public Library had no classification for Computer Science; by 1990 the section had exploded. As collections unpredictably swell, materials are dissociated from their categories. Excess materials are put in the basement, moved to off-site storage, or become squatters of another, totally unrelated department.

The Book Spiral implies a reclamation of the much-compromised Dewey Decimal System. By arranging the collection in a continuous ribbonrunning from 000 to 999the subjects form a coexistence that approaches the organic; each evolves relative to the others, occupying more or less space on the ribbon, but never forcing a rupture.



Floor plan.Level 13

Floor plan.Level 7.

QuoteYet, in Seattle, Koolhaas has attempted to nd a new relationship between the virtual and the actual. This is clearly illustrated by the somewhat unprecedented containment of all books on a long ascending ramp and the centralization of all resources (digital, human and traditional) in a fth-level Mixing Chamber where the chattering of 132 computer keypads adds a modern sound to the coughs and whispers of a library. Tom Haines, Seattle Still Percolates Behind this Artful Project,Boston Globe, August 21, 2005

References."Rem Koolhaas."AskMen. Web. 08 May 2012.

Seattle Public Library - Detailing the Skin. Web. 7 May 2012.

"ArchDaily: The World's Most Visited Website for Architects."ArchDaily. Web. 08 May 2012. .