Seattle Central Library as place: Reconceptualizing space, community, and information at the Central Library [chapter]

2016 Take One Building : Interdisciplinary Research Perspectives of the Seattle Central Library  
i Buildings operate in a multitude of ways, they are structural, constructional, social, cultural and aesthetic. They modify the environment and act as mechanisms for generating, or inhibiting, social contact. This makes the question of how to research them one that is as rich as it is varied. This compilation of essays, all about one building, brings together authors each with different perspectives and methodologies. It could be considered a primer in the possible suite of approaches open to
more » ... he researcher, or taken together it makes for a rare attempt to synthesise across disciplines. It gives about the best example I have seen of what a 'trans-disciplinary' approach to architectural research could look like. Professor Alan Penn, Dean of The Bartlett, UCL, USA. How buildings work for their occupiers and how design icons perform for their users is an imprecise and understudied field. The connections between design aspiration and their impact on people are rarely understood despite the huge capital investments that buildings command. This book brings a fresh and rigorous perspective to the field, founded in original and compelling research. It should become the bible for anyone interested in commissioning, designing and evaluating how buildings can add value to society. This book evaluates how we experience and understand buildings in different ways depending upon our academic and professional background. With reference to Rem Koolhaas' Seattle Central Library, the book illustrates a range of different methods available through its application to the building. By seeing such a variety of different research methods applied to one setting, it provides the opportunity for researchers to understand how tools can highlight various aspects of a building and how those different methods can augment, or complement, each other. Unique to this book are contributions from internationally renowned academics from fields including architecture, ethnography, architectural criticism, phenomenology, sociology, environmental psychology, and cognitive science, all of which are united by a single, real-world application, the Seattle Central Library. This book will be of interest to architects and students of architecture as well as disciplines such as ethnography, sociology, environmental psychology, and cognitive science that have an interest in applying research methods to the built environment. Ruth Conroy Dalton is Professor of Building Usability and Visualisation at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. She is an architect and her research interests are on the relationship between the spatial layout of buildings and environments and how people understand, and interact in, those spaces.
doi:10.4324/9781315589237-18 fatcat:3djrfz6glvhe7iz5pl5y4wgb6u