Seattle’s most extreme example of contemporary architecture, the Central Library, turns 10 this month. (Learn more by reading Erik Lacitis’ anniversary story and perusing Mary Ann Gwinn’s list of related events.)
Tourists love the library; locals love to argue about it. In that contentious spirit, here’s a list of the five most hotly debated, 21st-century buildings in Seattle and Bellevue.
1 The Central Library
Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of OMA/LMN, 2004; 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle.
Love: Exalted public spaces that turn commoners to kings, such as the Betty Jane Narver reading room. Hate: The desolate Fourth Avenue entrance
2 EMP Museum
Frank Gehry, 2000; 325 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle.
Love: The monorail that pierces the globular facade like an arrow through a twisted heart. Hate: The tomblike interior.
3 The Gates Foundation
NBBJ, 2011; 440 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle.
Love: An attractive patio-and-pond plaza that anchors the campus. Hate: The fact that so much of the Gates Foundation compound is closed to the public.
4 Bellevue Arts Museum
Steven Holl, 2001; 510 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue.
Love: A sweeping staircase on the main floor that builds anticipation as you approach the galleries. Hate: Dull, white-box galleries that have none of the charm of architect Steven Holl’s best interiors (see the Chapel of St. Ignatius, at Seattle University).
5 Seattle City Hall
Peter Bohlin (Bohlin Cywinski Jackson) and Bassetti Architects, 2003; 600 Fourth Ave., Seattle.
Love: Cascading indoor and outdoor spaces that invite passers-by to pause and gather. Hate: Cluttered detailing.