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Seattle Public Library.

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
Because I just know you all love and adore the Seatlle Public Lib, I just thought I would rub it in some more, with these construction shots. Just feel free to get mad!

http://www.spl.org/lfa/central/ConstructionCamera/album/novdec2003_exterior.html


Sort of like a bigger version of the Hertzog and De Meuron Prada building in Tokyo.

http://www.dezain.net/2003/prada/01.jpg

http://www.dezain.net/2003/prada/03.jpg

http://www.dezain.net/2003/prada/05.jpg

http://www.dezain.net/2003/prada/06.jpg

http://www.dezain.net/2003/prada/10.jpg

http://www.dezain.net/2003/prada/11.jpg

http://www.dezain.net/2003/prada/12.jpg


gareth.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,705
Points
54
the shots from above are great and everything, but how does it interact with the street? Is it integrated with the street or does it shun any street activity for the sake of large inactive walls? I can do nothing but believe that this thing is simply the ego of some politican and architect materialized on Seattle's streets.

Then again, the interior may have been designed for the function and utility necessary for a library and it may have come in under budget. ;-)
 

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
Just one tip I will give you guys, I recently attended a lecture by Aaron Betsky lecture and he said something about Rem Koolhaas buildings, which was very brief and to the point:

These things will not be around in more than 25 years - because they will be in bits, and the city will want to do something different with the site. I.e. That they might, graduate in that time to the level of architectural monuments, and cost the officials loads of money to maintain as icons etc, like Pompidou in Paris city centre.

But there is no good reason to build like this, for the sake of a building that might stand up to wear and tear over a long period than a quarter of a century. So you have to view/interpret these buildings as such - providing an enclosure, a building in which the function of a public library can happen, cheaply and efficiently for a said period of time.

Face it though guys, the sites are worth more than the buildings in alot of cases these days. There is nothing worse than building something for millions, like we build high tech factories here in Ireland, to attract US high tech companies, and the high tech company moves on to Saudi after two years of employment. Example: Seagate.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,705
Points
54
So, you are saying that the public realm will now have designed obsolescence. They are throw-away architecture. Hmmmm, disappointing.

It's still ugly and the idea that it will just be replaced in 25-30 years is no justification for spending massive amounts of resources to produce ugly, junk architecture.
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
PlannerByDay said:
What in the heck is that.

IMO...That puts the UG in UGLY
Couldn't be better said. Everything this guy does is ugly. I believe his work will always be thought ugly. I think the man does not know how to draw, so he relies on-over-the-top ideas that are essentially literary.

Frantic! Or to borrow his word: delirious.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
I like crystalline, beautiful modern buildings. I generally dislike Koolhaas, I wonder about his functionality.
I've only seen it in drawings, and the drawings look horrible.

Another example of a provincial city trying to become "world class" by hiring "star architects."

I disagree that any cash-strapped municipality should be designing libraries with 25-year lifespans. And, one could argue that a boring old tried-and-true neoclassical building might in fact be cheaper to build and easier to maintain than some bizzarro world structure. Of course, San Francisco tried to have it both ways (feeble neoclassicism and "avant garde") and their library is generally acknowledged to be a complete failure as a library. (It is beautiful inside, but confusing as heck).

jordanb or mendlemen, have you seen Koolhaas' new Student Center design at IIT? Any opnions? I have to admit, I like the photos I've seen- with the train running through a metal tube.
 

garethace

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
mendelman said:
It's still ugly and the idea that it will just be replaced in 25-30 years is no justification for spending massive amounts of resources to produce ugly, junk architecture.
Very similar to a trend of doing concrete in the 1970s, leaving the boardmarks of the timber shuttering on the concrete as it set. This initially was started as a means to save money, and the architects liked it. But eventually, it turned out that it most instances, it actually cost more money to achieve that timber shuttered concrete pattern on the finished concrete, than have it smoothe or just cladding over it.

I.e. to make concrete good enough that it is visible as a finish, means you have to spend much more money doing a high quality of in-situ concrete pouring. So, I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing actually happened with the 'throw away' building concept too.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Signature architecture can be a truly stunning, wonderful work like the new art museum addition in Milwaukee.



Then again, it can be uninspired, like the new Overture Center in Madison



Then again, it can be hideous, like the Seattle Library or the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinatti.



I am not at all troubled that any of these building might be expensive to maintain. Public buildings have always been built on a grand scale, usually over budget, and costing large sums to operate throughout their life. Every culture has had them; temples, churches, citadels, monuments, and the like. What is troubling is that, looking at many of these buildings, I would have to ask if they have given us any reason why we should not mind the cost of maintaining them. Isn't that ultimately the goal of fine civic architecture, to inspire people?

By the way, Urban Land had an article on this same topic in the December 2003 issue.
 

simulcra

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
At the risk of being dissenting, I personally like the look of the seattle public library (and the "hideous" arts center in cincinatti, although i agree the madison building is uninspired).

Then again, I also like the new soldier field (the "UFO" that invaded chicago) and, despite it's overwhelming size (takes an entire block), the Max P dorm at UChicago (which is otherwise generally loathed). Plus, I tend to like brutalism. So I guess my architectural tastes are a bit nonmainstream.

Keep in mind the eiffel tower was quite loathed, but after a while people began to love it.

although architecture with a 25 life span is disheartening. and stupid.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
I will agree with Solipsa about the Cincinatti building. I've always thought, from photographs, it looked pretty neat.

I hope to get up to Seattle this year so I can see the library in person. Photographs and drawings can only show so much.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
BKM said:
I will agree with Solipsa about the Cincinatti building. I've always thought, from photographs, it looked pretty neat.

I hope to get up to Seattle this year so I can see the library in person. Photographs and drawings can only show so much.
I had the unfortunate opportunity to visit the Cincinatti building. It can be made to look good in a photo, but in person it is horrible. It does not relate in any way to the street or to its surroundings. Even if it stood alone, though, it would be far from attractive. It is equally unfriendly on the inside.
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
Hmm. Very shiny, self-indulgent, kind of interesting, and probably much better looking at night. It looks like an enormous version of those candle-holder lantern things people get to put on their decks, with citronella candles, only more monolithic. Does it loom as much from the sidewalk as it seems to in those photos?
 

GRID

Cyburbian
Messages
35
Points
2
I like how Seattle's library really "pushes the envelope" in design. I personally like it, but I can understand why some people view it as some "abstract monster."

By the way, that Milwuakee winged-structure addition is stunning. Seriously, it really has pumped up my personal attention and respect for that town. To city planners & developers, I would want to say just two, simple words: GOOD MOVE.
 

pdm

Messages
1
Points
0
BKM said:
I like crystalline, beautiful modern buildings. I generally dislike Koolhaas, I wonder about his functionality.
I've only seen it in drawings, and the drawings look horrible.

Another example of a provincial city trying to become "world class" by hiring "star architects."
The irony of all this is this---there's something to be said for local architects in local surrondings. For example, in Miami, Archiceqtonica (sp?) has designed buildings that've enlivened that area's skyline.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
I recently visited Seattle and viewed this structure...I happened to like it and believe it will be successful.
 

oulevin

Cyburbian
Messages
178
Points
7
GRID said:
By the way, that Milwuakee winged-structure addition is stunning. Seriously, it really has pumped up my personal attention and respect for that town. To city planners & developers, I would want to say just two, simple words: GOOD MOVE.
Same here. In one fell swoop (of a bird), Milwaukee has reinvented its image. And it WILL bring in people who never would have visited before. I am believer in iconic architecture.

Cleveland has vigorously used I.M. Pei's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to redefine its image. And it's no small wonder that visitors think it's a much better city than Clevelanders do.
 
Messages
4
Points
0
A couple more pictures I found of the SPL.







Former is from the outside, latter two are of the inside.

And to those of you who have wondered how it would affect Seattle street interaction, the location of the library is outside the main shopping/pedestrian traffic area. Most of the surrounding buildings are nine-to-five offices and chic hotels, with which the library sort of fits in better than if it were amidst all the main tourist areas.

However, when it does open (next month), the area will become more active with people coming to and leaving the library. The convention center down the street offers parking, and library visitors can park there for $1 / two hrs. It's a pain to park there, I'd know, and it's a few blocks away, which not everyone would be willing to walk all the time.
 
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