Central Library : Building Facts

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Building Facts About the Central Library

Central Library, Level 3The current Central Library opened to the public on May 23, 2004 and in its first year of operation attracted more than 8,000 visitors a day - double the average attendance in the old building. The new Central Library gave Seattle both a civic icon and a functional, user-friendly building offering many different services and spaces.


Fast Facts

Visitors are often curious about the amount of concrete, steel and glass that went into the Central Library.  Here's a quick glimpse:


  • Total concrete - 18,400 cubic yards; rebar: 2,050 tons. The concrete in the library would cover 10 football fields 1-foot deep.
  • Total steel - 4,644 tons. If you compared the weight of the Statue of Liberty to the weight of the steel in the Central Library, there would be enough steel to make 20 statues. The diagonal grid system is designed to withstand lateral forces caused by wind or earthquakes.
  • Total pieces of exterior glass - 9,994; square footage of exterior curtain wall: 126,767; square footage of interior glazing: 28,963. The glass in the library would cover 5 ½ football fields. About half of the building's panes are triple-layered glass with an expanded metal mesh sandwiched between the two outer layers. The mesh, aluminum sheet metal that is cut and stretched, reduces heat and glare. Most of the glass is cleaned twice a year, and more often for surfaces that need it.


Also worth noting: The building has sustainable systems that lessen its energy and environmental impact.




The Team


A collaborative, international effort drove the design and construction of the Central Library:

  • Architects - Rem Koolhaas (of the Netherlands) and Joshua Ramus (originally from the Seattle area) were the principal designers of the building. Their firm, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, partnered with LMN Architects of Seattle on the project.
  • Contractor - Hoffman Construction Co. of Washington
  • Engineers - Arup (mechanical and electrical systems); Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA) with Arup (structural)
  • Steel construction - The Erection Company (TEC)
  • Graphics - Bruce Mau Design
  • Landscaping - Inside/Outside and Jones & Jones, Seattle
  • Lighting - Kugler Tillotson Associates
  • Interior design - OMA/LMN Architects and Inside/Outside




Read more about the design and construction of the Central Library, from start to finish:

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Central Library
1000 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104



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