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  Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center, Page 30Ballard Library and Neighborhood Service Center

1932 First Avenue, #916, Seattle, WA 98101

Seattle, Washington
Total Square Feet: 33,500
Construction Period: Jan 2004 to Apr 2005 

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Putnam Collins Scott Associates - 811 First Avenue, #510, Seattle, WA 98104
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: PCL Construction Services, Inc. - 15405 S.E. 37th Street, #200, Bellevue, WA 98006
MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL/PLUMBING ENGINEER: Affiliated Engineers Northwest, Inc. - 1601 Fifth Avenue, #1400, Seattle, WA 98101
ACOUSTICAL ENGINEER: The Greenbusch Group, Inc. - 1900 West Nickerson Street, #201, Seattle, WA 98119

Ballard is evolving from its image as an old Scandinavian outpost to one of Seattle's most popular neighborhoods. The Ballard Library is the first major building designed under the new Ballard Municipal Master Plan Zone, and consists of a co-location with a neighborhood service center. Parking is located below grade.

The library and service center occupy a gently-sloping site adjacent to a new city park, slated to begin construction shortly after the library is completed. The area in effect becomes a Civic Core to the developing Ballard district. It is easily accessible by public transit, bicycles, and pedestrians, and a pedestrian zoning overlay was recently adopted to promote development of this nature.

The narrow storefront mullions undulate behind narrow tapered wood columns. A curved wall of the multipurpose room guides people from the street along its edge and into the structure. An open arcade along the west facade joins the three organizations under a large protected canopy allowing the sharing of common spaces and emphasizing the building's civic nature. The common roof also symbolizes the unique relationship of several thoughtful clients in creating a facility whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The design makes use of several sustainable building design strategies. The current scheme gathers the three varying functions under a gently curving roof of grass-like sedum. The "sod" roof is a European system that absorbs water to be used later by planting material, substantially reducing runoff. The underside of the curving roof is a raft of engineered wood members. The manufacturing of these timbers allows the use of laminated and recycled wood in lieu of traditional solid sawn timbers while retaining the warmth and character of real wood. A series of light-wells and clerestories are oriented to bring in varied qualities of light through the building's lid at key points. Entries are bathed in a wash of sunlight. Diffused light settles down on the reference desk. Bold, direct light penetrates through the structure of the arcade and the open stair well to the parking below.

The effort is a collaborative one between Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Seattle Public Libraries, the Neighborhood Service Center, community, and user groups. Artists were selected prior to the commencement of schematic design to allow a seamless integration of art into the overall building design. A community group with representatives from interested parties was actively involved in the design process. This group effort allows the voices of thousands of potential users to be heard.

The building is a gentle balance of flowing form and rigorous structure. Light celebrates and animates the spaces and forms. The facility builds on Ballard's long history while recognizing its current revitalization, diverse population and promising future of the neighborhood.

DIV 06:
Glu Lam: Structurlam Products.
DIV 07: Living Membrane: American Hydrotech; Manufactured Siding: Ettel & Franz Co.
DIV 08: Curtainwall: EFCO Corporation.
DIV 09: Carpet: Inter face.

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