Seattle Branch Library
Associate Teaching Professor
ARCH 355 - Third Year Undergraduate Architectural Design Studio
. . .his self-absorption waned. Hesitantly and incredulously at first, he began to decipher the alphabet of symbols which he himself was creating, yet not creating. Flat and unrelieved until now, the patterns became steadily more plastic and three-dimensional . . . It was hard to believe that all these things had been produced by arbitrary quirks of coincidence, yet the transformation of these random shapes into remarkable works of art was being effected by no force other than that which operated within the traveler himself. The boundary between him and his surroundings – between that which his imagination supplied and that which actually confronted him – became more and more blurred until in the end he could no longer distinguish one from the other: his mind appeared external to himself, the objects of his perception internal. All at once he seemed to see himself . . . from within and without at the same time, as if he too were no more than a random shape in which his mind's eye perceived something of substance. But it was this very act of imagination that transformed substantiality into reality. Though startled by the thought, the traveler found it pleasurable.
Michael Ende, The Mirror in the Mirror: A Labyrinth
During this studio we will be planning and designing a public library for the up-and-coming warehouse and industrial district to the south of downtown Seattle -- called South of Downtown (SODO). The library should consider traditional and prototypical uses for containing knowledge with the social, economic, political, technological, etc. spirit of the times today.
The Seattle Public Library (SPL) system is renowned for being open to all and is well funded by the city to encourage community engagement, public service, and architectural excellence. The SPL has been a test-bed for architecture of the last 20 years and provides us with a variety of works of architecture from differing perspectives and voices.
The main syllabus describes a series of specifications and requirements that are necessary for creating a thorough project; please keep them in mind as you proceed through your semester long design project. However, this architectural design studio will incorporate three additional research areas into your own cohesive architectural project by the end of the semester: Theory, Narrative, and Representation. Each of these will be emphasized to varying degrees throughout the semester, but you should be working on all of them in some way from the very beginning of the semester. Once you begin to develop your own individual project, please consider how it represents your own specific interests to these three research areas.