The Seattle Public Library Southwest Branch
An old library is renovated as part of a public initiative.
Architects & Firms
The renovation and extension of the Southwest Branch Library was made possible as part of the Libraries for All initiative, approved by Seattle voters in 1998. The $196 million bond measure enabled library renovations and new library construction.
The Southwest Branch building, completed in 1961, was doubled in size to 15,000 square feet. Much of the existing steel structure from the original brick-clad, one-story building was preserved.
The library expansion extends the original building to the street with a two-story addition and entry arcade, increasing the building’s civic presence. The addition is clad in a wood-resin composite panel system. The rebuilt original portion of the building is covered in durable and low-maintenance corrugated cement board.
The renovated library features abundant fenestration, opening the building to light and the surrounding neighborhood. Clerestory windows and a central light well surround the vertical circulation area, bringing natural light deep into the building’s center.
A displacement ventilation system provides natural ventilation—there is no air conditioning—and the central, two-story circulation space and clerestories help release excess heat.
Interior beech wood veneers create a warm and inviting space. British Columbia artist, Katherine Kerr, created an exterior installation piece of outstretched hands, cast from the hands of some of the library’s most active patrons.
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Mechanical: Greenbusch Group
Acoustical: Greenbusch Group
Civil: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Furniture and Fixture: Design Perspectives
Artist: Katherine Kerr
CAD system, project management, or other software used: AutoCad
Corrugated Cement Panels: Cembonit B9 by Cembrit
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Custom Beech Veneer Cabinets with Concrete countertops
Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams
Paneling: Prodema Wood Resin Composite Panel
Carpet: Interface Carpet Tile (90% Recycled)
Raised flooring: Tate Access Floor
Stairs: Glue Laminated wood treads with Galvanized Steel Risers
Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
Sustainable building systems and components
Cladding System: cladding system was vented to reduce heat gain inside the building.
Lighting Control system: