Monday, November 30, 2009

Reading to Architecture




I am almost completely at a loss when it comes to geeking out about architecture, but I can spot an interesting structure when I see one, and spotting one is easier when, as in the case of the Seattle Central Library, it has been the subject of so much commentary in architecture circles. In 2006, the New Yorker declared Rem Koolhaas's design

the most important new library to be built in a generation, and the most exhilarating. Koolhaas has always been a better architect than social critic, and the building conveys a sense of the possibility, even the urgency, of public space in the center of a city. The design is not so much a rejection of traditional monumentality as a reinterpretation of it, and it celebrates the culture of the book as passionately, in its way, as does the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. The Seattle building is thrilling from top to bottom.
I'm not sure about the bulk of that, but I'll agree it is a thrilling building through and through -- modern without being cold, monumental in an age and a city known for irony, if not outright cynicism.

I could read there.

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