Deconstructivist architecture – eight iconic buildings

Seattle Central Library
Architect: OMA
Completed 2004
Locaton: Seattle

Seattle-Central-Library-OMA-deconstrictivist-architecture-designcurial-lholscher

Photo: Philippe Ruault

With its cross-hatched façade of class and steel, the 11-storey Seattle Central Library is spectacular to look at from the outside; but it is the way the library is organized that makes it a true icon of deconstructivism.

Architect OMA describes the 'ambition to redefine the library as an institution no longer exclusively dedicated to the book, but rather as an information store where all potent forms of media - both new and old - are presented equally and legibly.'

Seattle-Central-Library-OMA-deconstrictivist-architecture-designcurial-lholscher

Photo: Philippe Ruault

Although the library is an unusual shape from the outside, the architects' chose to let the building's functions dictate what it should look like inside.

A major section of the building is what OMA call the Books Spiral, (designed to display the library's non-fiction collection without breaking up the Dewey Decimal System classification onto different floors or sections). The collection spirals up through four storeys on a continuous series of shelves. This allows patrons to peruse the entire collection without using stairs or traveling to a different part of the building.

When the library opened, the Spiral's bookcases housed 780,000 books, but were designed to be able to accommodate growth of up to 1,450,000 books in future without adding to the bookcases.

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