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    Seattle Public Library - Detailing the Skin

    by Steve DelFraino, LMN Architects, with Christine Killory and René Davids

    The twelve-story, 362,987-square-foot (33,723-square-meter) Seattle Public Library sits on a steep urban site with a 29-foot (8.8-meter) height difference between its boundaries on Fourth and Fifth Avenues.

    The library’s distinctive exterior skin, a steel, glass, and aluminum diamond-shaped grid, began with the simple concept of wrapping the entire building in a continuous layer of transparency. This layer, with its faceted planes, outlines the elevated platforms on the exterior while creating a variety of interconnected spaces on the interior. Unifying these shifting planes of glass, a common diamond module has been utilized for the mullion framing across the entire envelope.

    Seemingly simple in concept, the curtain-wall glazing system is comprised of numerous components, each requiring extensive scrutiny by the design team and fabricator to function both separately and as a complete assembly. Realizing that a custom curtain-wall system would be required, the project team initiated an early bid package describing the scope and design intent of the general system.   >>>

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    This article is excerpted from Details in Contemporary Architecture, edited by Christine Killory & René Davids, with permission of the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press.

     

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    The curtain wall of the main Seattle Public Library is composed largely of a diagonal steel-mullion grid with glass panel infill.
    Photo: Philippe Ruault

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    An unglazed lattice of steel shades the Fifth Avenue entry approach.
    Photo: Philippe Ruault Extra Large Image

     

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