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February 24, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 12/29/2004

Seattle's Central Library receives Time Magazine's top award for best architecture in 2004

Central Library

Seattle's new Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., designed by OMA/LMN Architects, has received Time magazine's top award for architecture in 2004.

Time senior writer Richard Lacayo said, "In the city where the Internet rules, here's a building that takes books - remember those? - into the 21st century."

He described the 11-level building, which opened May 23, 2004 to more than 25,000 eager patrons, as being "folded like origami and covered with a diamond-shape latticework of structural steel." The article can be viewed online.

This week, the New York Times also featured the Central Library in a story on best-reviewed buildings of 2004. New York Times architectural critic Nicolai Ouroussoff called the new Central Library a "relief from the mind-numbingly dull spaces of most recent libraries. One of the most important buildings completed in the United States in more than a decade, it proves that even bureaucrats are not immune to the power of the imagination, no small feat in an era of shrinking government and diminished expectations."

In his May 23, 2004 review of the Central Library, New York Times architectural critic Herbert Muschamp said, "In more than 30 years of writing about architecture, this is the most exciting new building it has been my honour to review." He described the Central Library as a "blazing chandelier to swing your dreams upon."

Seattle City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs said she is extremely proud that the Central Library is receiving such high praise and recognition. She emphasized that the building was "a collaboration between an extremely talented design team and a dedicated Library board, staff and book-loving public.

"Thirty-seven staff groups were involved, as well as 11 public work groups."

She added that the design team gave public presentations throughout the design process, and hosted a public open house when the design was complete. The Library's Web site: kept the public informed with regular information and photographs of the construction.

"It is incredible that the building everyone around the world wants to see is a library," Jacobs said. "It is a not only a beautiful building, but it is extremely functional. While we certainly get a fair number of tourists, the library is filled with people reading or browsing from among our million items of books and materials, using one of our 400 computers or getting assistance from one of our many knowledgeable librarians." The Central Library's circulation is up an average of 60 percent and number of visitors is more than double than it was in the old building.

"The Central Library is one of the most remarkable buildings in the world and you don't even need a reservation to get in," Jacobs said. For more information, visit, or call 206-386-4636. The Library offers several guided tours of the building daily.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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