Capitol Hill Library

Seattle, Washington

This 11,600 square-foot library is located in the most densely populated and actively urban neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. The architects’ intention was to create a quiet refuge in this intense neighborhood, while designing a building that could hold its own in the visually active context of Capitol Hill. To achieve this end, the community and the architects also wanted the building to respond to the site’s natural and man-made context. In response, the architects looked to the winter solstice to determine the shape of the central reading room. A triangular pitched roof whose rainwater runoff is expressed in a central open downspout reinforces this shape.

To foster life, the exterior and interior of the brick portions of the building were wrapped with a veil of stainless steel mesh, upon which 16 varieties of climbing plants have been trained. When the planting matures, lighting that has been placed between the plant-supporting wire and the brick will be turned on and the building will glow green with life.