Magazine article Newsweek

Architecture: A Kool New Library

Magazine article Newsweek

Architecture: A Kool New Library

Article excerpt

Byline: Cathleen McGuigan

Remember the fuss a few years back when San Francisco opened a new main library and everyone griped, "Where are the books?" (There were still books--though some 100,000 had been dumped in a landfill.) The boom in info technology--and the big role of public libraries in providing Internet access--has turned libraries into online data malls. But even in a high-tech capital like Seattle, people still believe that actual books aren't dinosaurs. Next weekend Seattle opens its new Central Library downtown (Bill and Melinda Gates gave $20 million toward its $165 million cost, of which most was paid by public bond)--and though the eye-popping building is wired to the max, it's a book-centric place.

The amazing architecture--an engineering marvel of glass and crisscrossed steel that jut and cantilever--is the work of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. When he got the commission, he and the library's board visited a number of libraries in the United States and Europe. …

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