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Rem's Magic Playhouse

I am currently sitting in the Seattle room of the Seattle public library. Yes, this is Rem Koolhas' baby.

I find it a fascinating place. A bit cold and awfully open but I think that also gives it charm oddly enough. It is never loud (like I thought it would be) and I have found many spaces that quite comfortable (with squishy furniture).

As a library, I don't think the building will age gracefully. The first thing to go will be the spongy furniture, I am sure. Then the low stack will be need to be replaced with taller shelving and that alone will alter the visual experience. Public libraries show a lot of wear and tear very quickly and this space is not immune from that fate.

But that's just spongy furniture and shelving. The details are what makes the space unique. The windows (and the building's facade is essentially one giant window broken by a diagonal grid of metal beams) sandwich an aluminium (?) mesh that is both seemingly transparent and very effective at deflecting the light.

The carpet near an info desk takes it cues from a garden space directly outside the building and brings it indoors. The effect is a very funky, very contemporary space.

I can't help but think about a discussion I had with an architect friend of mine. He remarked that this building has very little to do with books, reading, and the normal functions of a library. In many ways, I have to agree. I can forsee a time in the future when this space serves another purpose. It would do it quite well (and perhaps age gracefully in this new function).
gregory turner-rahman