Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

© Nic Lehoux

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 , 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, , 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
Security: Sparling
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

© Nic Lehoux

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.

© Nic Lehoux

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.

© Benjamin Benschneider

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.

© Nic Lehoux
© Nic Lehoux

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson" 04 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Holcim Awards US

    That roof profile is incredible. So elegant and smooth. Love the planted roof with native grasses too. A really great project that is focussed on sustainability. This would be a perfect project to submit to the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Cosntruction: