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Friday, March 11 • 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Seattle Public Library and Environs Architectural Tour: "Redefining the Public Sphere"

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In this 1.5-hour tour, we shall focus on the Main Library within the Seattle Public Library system, designed by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in early 2000s. At the time of its design and construction, a larger debate about the privatization of public space had been raging since the Reagan Era. Seattle voters in 1996 passed the Libraries for All bond issue that laid out an unprecedented amount for the construction of a new main library and the building or renovation of all branch libraries. In the city, these spaces were viewed as common public realms, highly valued and worthy of being expanded and, to an extent, glorified. Seattle undertook a wide-ranging public works campaign during the 1990-2010 period, when not only libraries but other public edifices, such as the city hall, police and fire stations were also systematically reshaped. The Seattle Public Library Main Building became one of the most highly publicized of the mid-2000s, and stands out as a strong public statement, indicating that citizens of this city valued public buildings and libraries, in particular, as common meeting places for all strata of society.

More history on the building: http://pcad.lib.washington.edu/building/3151/

Maximum Participants: 15

Fee: $10

Accessibility: Walking, standing, navigating city streets.

Transportation: : Light rail from the Westin to the Seattle Public Library. Walking in the vicinity of the library and return to the Westin by foot, weather permitting. Meet your tour wrangler around the North Tower escalators on the Westin's Lobby Level before the 12:30 PM departure.


Alan Michelson

Head, Built Environments Library, University of Washington, University of Washington

Friday March 11, 2016 12:30pm - 2:00pm PST