flickr visual

Architecture / Seattle library

Flickr photo

I took this pic­ture in a small atri­um over­look­ing the lob­by of the Seat­tle Library, designed by Rem Kool­haas and opened a year ago. As Mara and I enjoyed the cool, green light, we over­heard a con­ver­sa­tion that went some­thing like this:Mid­dle-age woman to her hus­band: I can't believe they spent so much mon­ey on this thing.Hus­band: It's absurd. What's in a library? Books. You don't need all this oth­er stuff.Mid­dle-age woman to Mara: What a waste of mon­ey, right?Mara: [Flabbergasted]People raise the same argu­ment when cities build new sports sta­di­ums. Of course, sta­di­ums bring in huge amounts of rev­enue and, the last time I checked, libraries were free. On the oth­er hand, sta­di­ums house teams owned by zil­lion­aires who, the last time I checked, could prob­a­bly afford to build the sta­di­ums themselves.In any case, the tax­pay­ers of Seat­tle have con­tributed to the con­struc­tion of an amaz­ing pub­lic space where EVERYONE can go, read, hang out FREE OF CHARGE and be inspired by the wis­dom of the ages sur­round­ing them. I can't imag­ine a bet­ter envi­ron­ment in which to do this. Cit­i­zens of Seat­tle, I salute you.