Fourth Avenue entrance
The Fourth Avenue entry features a resilient, brown polyurethane flooring material. The elevator core is wrapped in aluminum paneling. The concrete columns and ceilings are covered with smooth architectural concrete. Quartz light fixtures are suspended from the ceiling of the entire first floor, creating a plane of light throughout the space. The relocated, restored Tsutakawa fountain is visible through the windows. Known as "The Fountain of Wisdom," the abstract bronze sculpture is the first fountain by Seattle artist George Tsutakawa, who won international recognition for his graceful sculpture fountains.
Faye G. Allen Children's Center
The Children's Center, to the north of the Fourth Avenue entrance, features a natural bamboo floor. There also are two areas with bright yellow and bright pink rubberized flooring and those colors continue up the walls. The approximately 900-square-foot brightly colored areas create special places for children to stop and read. The pink area is designed to be attractive to toddlers, and the yellow for children ages 5 and up. The Children's Center also includes innovative seating in "Poufs," which are round, low to the ground, foam-filled seats.
Anne Marie Gault Story Hour Room
This fun, mainly green triangular room has a perforated wood wall, which gives the space a cozy feeling. The random lights in the room mimic a starlight pattern. A large skylight and a wide door on each end of the room let in natural light.
Evelyn W. Foster Learning Center
This area is the home of the Library's Literacy/ESL/ World Languages collection. The maple-wood floor created by artist Ann Hamilton includes 556 lines of text, in reverse, in 11 languages and alphabets and consists of the first sentences of books found in the collection. A notebook in the section lists the books Hamilton used to create the floor.
The Auditorium features dove gray wood paneling, a custom-designed curtain and green seats. The curtain has two layers; one is acoustically absorbent and the other is made of a reflective, flameproof material. Sit down and you'll find that the polyurethane foam seats with springs embedded in them are more comfortable than those you usually find in an auditorium.
The approximately 600-square-foot exhibition space below the Auditorium features wood paneling, as well as the dedication plaques for the new building and the two previous libraries built on this site.
Fifth Avenue entrance/The Norcliffe Foundation Living Room
The Fifth Avenue entry, which leads into The Norcliffe Foundation Living Room, features a Worthwood floor that is durable, low maintenance and absorbs noise and vibration. The white-stained wood, which is produced in Oregon, is made from wood scraps. Various patches of nylon carpet on this level show images of grass and plants that mirror the plantings around the building. The dramatic atrium in the center of the Living Room rises from Level 3 to Level 11, where it is topped with glass. A large, nearby planter filled with grasses and plants, at the corner of a 720-square-foot carpet, adds a touch of the outdoors.
Starbucks Teen Center
An orange polyurethane floor covers the area. The pop culture color was deliberately chosen to provide punch, excitement and sophistication. The designers wanted a warm color that was complementary to the space, but reflected the age of the people who would be using it.
Maria Lee Koh and Family Fiction Collection
The floor is mainly white-stained Worthwood flooring. A lush purple carpet decorates a seating area where you can relax and read. The Living Room, which houses the library's fiction collection that is not filed by number, is designed for easy browsing. This makes it convenient to drop in during your lunch hour, find what you're looking for and return to work.
Take the elevator, or the bright red stairs, to this dynamic level, which includes six differently shaped meeting rooms. The hallway floors, walls and ceilings are all various shades of red. But inside the rooms the colors are neutral, sedate and conducive to quiet time and learning. People on the Meeting level can look down through a glass wall onto the grass-patterned carpets in the Living Room on Level 3.
Charles Simonyi Mixing Chamber
The Mixing Chamber, which includes the largest concentration of the building's 400 public computers, has an aluminum floor. The black columns and ceiling are fireproofed and coated with a clear sealer that contains mica chip glitter, which adds to the high-tech feel of the space.
The books are the highlight of the building and the design of the Books Spiral makes that clear. The floors are simple, exposed concrete. Floor mats with Dewey Decimal numbers that correspond to adjacent collections are featured throughout the four-level Books Spiral. Areas on each level have computers, copy machines and reading, study and other areas, such as two music practice rooms on Books Spiral 8. The ceiling is covered with clear polycarbonate panels with fluorescent lights.
Betty Jane Narver Reading Room
This comfortable room, with its impressive spaces, was designed to feel like a traditional library. The beautiful brown Worthwood floor appears to have shades of red and gold when seen in bright sunlight. Three areas have different colored carpeting patterned with plant foliage. The pattern in all three is reminiscent of the carpet in the Living Room, and the colors include vivid shades of blue, purple, green, red, yellow and pink. Technology spaces on this level have the same aluminum flooring as the Mixing Chamber, effectively separating them from the reading areas. The ceiling on an adjacent level, which overlooks the Reading Room, features soft 4-foot by 4-foot white fabric-wrapped squares, many of which have lights attached in the center. These acoustical pillows keep the space quiet, as well as add to the atmosphere of relaxation and comfort.
Finding your way with color
Look for the bright, almost fluorescent green-yellow areas and you will have found the elevators and escalators. Bright colors are used for traffic cones and reflecting stripes on streets because people are drawn to them. In the Central Library, these creative colors help direct you from level to level.