A multiple award winner for design excellence and sustainability, the Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center offers a dramatic face along the street and an extended front porch gathering space for its neighborhood. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the building is located on a gently sloping site diagonally across from a new city park and leads toward Ballard’s center one block away. Follow the break for further project description, photographs, and drawings of the new library.
Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Location: 5614 22nd Avenue N.W, Seattle, Washington, USA
Principal for Design: Peter Q. Bohlin FAIA
Principal in Charge and Project Manager: Robert Miller AIA
Project Architect: David Cinamon AIA, Associate
Project Team: Zeke Busch, Stephen Gibson, Nguyen Ha, Darren Lloyd, Jessica O’Brien, Steve Mongillo, Eric Walter
Structural Engineering: PCS Structural Solutions
MEP Engineering: Affiliated Engineers
Civil Engineering: Rosewater Engineering, Inc.
Landscape Architects: Swift Company LLC
Lighting Design: Candela
Acoustical Engineering: The Greenbusch Group
Cost Engineering: The Robinson Company
General Contractor: PCL Construction Services, Inc.
Owner: The Seattle Public Library City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods
Project Area: 15,000 sqf library and 3,600 sqf neighborhood service center
Project Year: 2005
Photographs: Benjamin Benschneider, Nic Lehoux, and Courtesy of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Tapered steel columns support a lilting roof that extends beyond the entrance and unites the library and service center components. The planted roof turns upward at the north, allowing light into the building, its edges softened by wood purlins that extend beyond its perimeter.
Glazed walls and skylights provide transparency deep into the public areas of the building. The glass skin bends around the corners, marking the children’s area and service center lobby as special places. A public meeting room clad in galvanized shingles anchors the northwestern corner of the site. Rectangular, color-stained cedar boxes containing support spaces are aligned on east-west axes. A periscope integrated into a wall adjacent to the circulation desk offers patrons views to the green roof.
By giving careful consideration to building systems and components, and seeking multiple functions for each of the program elements, the Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center demonstrates that green building can be feasible within a modest budget. The library’s mission and use offer an opportunity to educate the community in the richness and benefits of combining sustainable design and extraordinary architecture.