Trompler Foundation Archives

Rem Job

Many people (including all the local media) went to see the new library when it opened on Sunday, when the weather was gorgeous.  I’m sure everyone had a nice time and the photos were splendid, but let’s face it; when it’s sunny and 70°F in Seattle, do you drop everything and race off to the library or to Green Lake?  Today, on the other hand, was true library weather: 52°F and pissing rain.  Oscar & I hopped on the bus (the first time for Oscar) and rode downtown to check it out.

I don’t suppose I’m the first to lament that Rem Koolhas’s design represents the last gasp of 90s-Seattle’s bid to become a "world class" city.  Hint: if you have to keep splurging public money on projects bruited about as "befitting a world-class city" every few years, you’ve probably already fallen short.

Despite the whiff of desperation about the origin of the re-design, I must say I like it.  A lot.  My taste in architecture is less developed than my taste in music, so I couldn’t begin to explain why I abandoned my preference for red brick and gargoyles to embrace this angular beast.  I can say I much preferred the building from the inside rather than from the outside; the building’s interior is surprising and maze-like; while the exterior departs from traditional right angles, the glass and steel remains uninsipiring.

Of course, reveling in the library’s "showpiece museum" qualities begs the question of who, precisely, is going to use the library as a library.  I won’t; I search the online catalog, place holds, and receive e-mail notices all at home, and I have my books sent to my local branch.  I’ll probably visit the new library more often than I did the old one, if only to wander the funky spiral design.  I’m sure it will become less easy to get lost in the new library as one becomes more familiar with it, but how familiar can one become if the only purpose for visiting is to enjoy getting lost?  Not all confusion is pleasurable; while wandering and photographing this morning, I managed to mislay Oscar’s backpack, and I had the frustrating chore of trying to retrace our meandering steps through a building that is, if not non-Euclidean, then at least non-Mondrian.

Other people have done a better job of exhaustively photographing the new library, probably because they weren’t shepherding a toddler at the same time.

More modern "art;" I have no idea what these are supposed to be.
Retro?  No money left over for "Kool" clocks?  Another mystery.
Let me guess: Boeing surplus, right?
Oscar locates a familiar face