Red Echo

February 2, 2015

Silly architecture rant: the library

After doing my best to ignore the downtown Seattle library for the last decade, I am now stuck walking past it every work day. Everyone who has taken the time to figure out which side has the entrance tells me it is very nice once you go inside, but the building is so alienating that I just don’t want to. It looks like a group of extraterrestrial cephalopoids were busy erecting a high-tech prison when an earthquake knocked its foundations over, and they simply carried on stacking up the floors without bothering to fix the damage. The place is even more unwelcoming than the Darth Vader building, and that takes some doing.


  1. Do you have a picture of this atrocity? I’m curious to see what it looks like. Can it really top the Darth Vader building?

    Comment by Rachel — February 9, 2015 @ 5:15 am

  2. That’s it in the first link! I can try to snap a shot or two of my own if you like, but I doubt I can capture it any better than that one does.

    Comment by Mars Saxman — February 9, 2015 @ 6:56 pm

  3. It looks befuddled. Out of curiosity, what do you think of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles?

    Comment by Rachel — February 9, 2015 @ 7:29 pm

  4. I’ve never seen it in person. From the pictures it looks eccentric, but at least it seems to know which direction is its face and presents something on that side which says “come here, I’m a door”. Stairs leading in, an opening in the facade, that sort of thing.

    That’s my big beef with the library, I guess, and to some degree with the EMP as well: for big public buildings, they do a terrible job at affording entry. A big weird building which nonetheless says “hey come check this out” can at least be interesting; a big weird building with no face imposes itself on the surroundings without giving anything back.

    Comment by Mars Saxman — February 10, 2015 @ 9:50 am