Libraries Are Our Landmarks

Posted by Daniel on Feb 6, 2013

On a recent visit to Seattle I stayed in a hotel across the street from the stunning Seattle Public Library building, pictured above. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus, the eleven-storey glass and steel structure opened in 2004 and has become an iconic landmark in the city.

It led me to think about the way that libraries, through their architecture, have become the most identifiable symbols of the city. The main branch of the Vancouver Public Library, designed by Moshe Safdie, is an obvious example, but there is also this

the City Centre Library in Surrey, designed by Bing Thom, or this

the North Vancouver City Library which won the Lieutenant Governor Award in architecture in 2009 for CEI Architecture in Vancouver and Diamond Schmitt Architects of Toronto.

Kind of ironic, isn't it, that when the book is supposedly dead (not so, of course, but this is what I keep reading), so many communities are making the library their community hub?