Wallingford Library//WI 16
As described in its 2011 Strategic Plan, “My Library: The Next Generation,” the Seattle Public Library is on the cusp of a transformation in its evolution as an urban and cultural institution. The central role that libraries play in Seattle’s neighborhoods as information hubs and community-gathering places is well established in the 26 branches that serve as neighborhood landmarks in Seattle. But the traditional model of the public library as an architectural type needs to be re-imagined in order to allow it to continue to serve as a space where people can access information, participate in learning and education programs and engage with each other and their community.
The current Wallingford library was the second branch to open under the “Libraries for All” program in January of 2000. At only 2,000 sq. ft. it is woefully undersized for the community that it serves, so the city has decided to repurpose the existing library and build a larger facility nearby. The new Wallingford Library is intended to have a highly visible presence and be easily accessible to local neighborhood residents. It will total approximately 14,000 sq. ft. In order to provide adequate room for exterior amenities, the building’s footprint will be restricted to 30% of the site. This will necessitate a multi-story solution and potentially complicate issues of accessibility and control.