Library of Voices:
Seattle Maritime Library & Memorial
Hillary Pritchett (2015)
In contrast to the inward-facing library of last century, this library occupies its surroundings on the north shore of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, diaphanous and absorbent. The library continues the rhythm of metal masts and fabric sails along the canal waterfront in a complex tensile roof made of steel cables and rods and 27 north-facing skylights (which also serve as vents for air intake and exhaust).
The steel structure floats above and extends the existing public dock to maintain public shore access. The slender columns, beams, and trusses provide a frame for an open floor plan. In anticipation of a shifting program, the suspended platforms are reconfigurable within this space. The steel frame also holds the library’s heart: a suspended auditorium at its center. This auditorium echoes and contrasts the only detached portion of the library, a memorial accessible by boat on the east side of the dock.
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