The Analysis of the Spatial Configuration of Rem Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library

  • Chuloh Jung
  • Mohammed Sherzad
  • Mohammad Arar


Rem Koolhaas is one of the most innovative architects in our times. He has revolutionized the way how architects work with program and interact with space. In Rem Koolhaas' architectural theories and design concepts, he has presented new perspectives on the design and operation of public facilities from an urban level in addition to a new interpretation of a given architectural program. The objective of this paper is to explore Rem Koolhaas' proposal for public space and the characteristics of the architectural configuration. As a methodology, Rem Koolhaas’ architectural approaches to public facilities are organized and representative characteristics are identified. Seattle Public Library combines two concepts of spatial configuration (drive-thru circulation system from National Library of France and undivided smooth space from Jussieu Library) by giving freedom to each element (platforms) and defining orders. Especially he introduced the concept of living room for the public space in the library, and divided information service section into separated part -mixing chamber from the public space. He set up the new concepts of the public space in library by reorganizing the program, and the social role of the public facilities. This study will serve as a basic data to plan a library among public facilities, it will be possible to summarize the new concept of the public area to reflect the new paradigm shift.


Alavi, H. S., Churchill, E., Kirk, D., Nembrini, J., & Lalanne, D. (2016). Deconstructing human-building interaction. interactions, 23(6), 60-62.
Bianco, L. (2018). Architecture, values and perception: between rhetoric and reality. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 7(1), 92-99.
Braester, Y. (2013). The architecture of utopia: From Rem Koolhaas’ scale models to RMB city. Spectacle and the City: Chinese Urbanities in Art and Popular Culture, 61-75.
Cha, M. Y., & Choi, H. S. (2012). A Comparative Study on the Inner Space Composition of a Building between Louis I. Kahn and Rem Koolhaas through Psychoanalysis. Korean Institute of Interior Design Journal, 21(5), 171-180.
Chang, Y. S. (2012). A Study on the Relation between Rem Koolhaas and 60, 70's Avant-gardes. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 28(8), 149-160.
Choi, J. S., & Kim, M. D. (2015). A Study on a Plan to Activate the Space of Small-Scale Art Museums by Using Space Analysis Program-Focused on Body Movement Elements. Korean Institute of Interior Design Journal, 24(3), 59-68.
Chung, H. J., & Kim, K. H. (2013). The Critical Point and Significance in the Notion of Rem Koolhaas's Bigness. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 29(6), 181-190.
Chunyu, S. X. W. (2012). The Contemporary Expression of the'Architecture Promenade Space' - From Le Corbusier to REM Koolhaas, and then to SANAA [J]. The Architect, 3.
Coates, N. (2012). Narrative architecture. John Wiley & Sons. 32-46.
Colonnese, F., & Carpiceci, M. (2013). Program, diagram and experience. An inquiry on OMA’s architectural images.’. Envisioning Architecture. Design, evaluation communication, 393-400.
Contandriopoulos, C. (2013). Architecture and Utopia in the 21st-Century. Journal of architectural Education, 67(1), 3-6.
Domlesky, A. (2020). AMO/Rem Koolhaas/Samir Bantal Countryside: The Future: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA 20 February–12 March, 2020 and 3 October, 2020–14 February, 2021. Journal of Landscape Architecture, 15(2), 93-96.
Dunham-Jones, E. (2013). The irrational exuberance of Rem Koolhaas. Places Journal.
Gargiani, R. (2017). Kunsthal: Rem Koolhaas/oma. Companion to the History of Architecture, 1-8.
Gerrewey, C. V. (2013). “Hope has Returned”: The Glorious Reception of OMA/Rem Koolhaas in the Dutch-Speaking World. Architectural Theory Review, 18(3), 356-371.
Godlewski, J. (2010). Alien and distant: Rem Koolhaas on film in Lagos, Nigeria. Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, 7-19.
Haddadi, S. (2020). The hybrid building concept. Topological characterisation as a project resource. Cuadernos de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, (10), 110-113.
Han, L., Huang, L., & Yang, B. (2018). A Study of Rem Koolhaas' Architectural Material Language and Its Innovation. New Architecture, 03.
Jencks, C., & Koolhaas, R. (2011). Radical Post‐Modernism and Content: Charles Jencks and Rem Koolhaas Debate the Issue. Architectural Design, 81(5), 32-45.
Joh, H., & Kim, N. H. (2012). A Study on Topological Relationship between Gilles Deleuze's Philosophy and Rem Koolhaas' Architecture. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 28(8), 139-148.
Kang, S. Y., Yoon, S. Y., & Yoon, J. E. (2013). A Study on Temporality of 'Phenomenology of music' in Rem Koolhaas's space. Korean Institute of Interior Design Journal, 22(1), 115-123.
Kim, I. S. (2016). A Study on the Architectural Thought of Rem Koolhaas in'Delirious New York'-An Approach from the Nietzschean Perspectives of'On Genealogy of Morals'-. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 32(1), 97-106.
Kim, J. S. (2019). A Study on the Features of Architectural Concept of Rem Koolhaas Applied in Villa Dall'Ava influenced by Le Corbusier's' Five Points of a New Architecture'. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 35(9), 119-129.
Kim, S. H. (2012). A Study on the Color Usage of Space Programming in Seattle Public Library. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 28(10), 31-38.
Koolhaas, R. (2011). Cronocaos. Log, (21), 119-123.
Koolhaas, R. (2012). The invention and reinvention of the city. Journal of International Affairs, 65(2), 113-119.
Koolhaas, R. (2013). The Generic City” and “Whatever Happened to Urbanism?. In The Urban Design Reader (pp. 378-392). Routledge.
Koolhaas, R. D. (2017). Reinventing Shoes: United Nude. Architectural Design, 87(6), 70-75.
Koolhaas, R., & Foster, H. (2016). Junkspace with Running Room. New York Review of Books. 24-28.
Koolhaas, R., & OMA. (2019). Museum in the Countryside: Aesthetics of the Data Centre. Architectural Design, 89(1), 60-65.
Koolhaas, R., Westcott, J., & Petermann, S. (2014). Elements of architecture. Venice: Marsilio. 47-52.
Kubo, M. (2012). Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect by Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 71(2), 242-244.
Kyonne, J. H. (2012). A Study on Rem Koolhaas's Architecture of Bigness Applied in ZKM. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 28(12), 259-267.
Lee, J. I. (2015). A Comparative Study on Robert Smithson's Earth Art and Architecture of Rem Koolhaas and MVRDV based on the Economic Model of Freud. Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea Planning & Design, 31(9), 59-68.
Liou, S. R. (2015). Rem Koolhaas and Álvaro Siza in Asia: An Architectural Comparison. The Athens Journal of Architecture, 1(3), 221-236.
Mackenzie, A. (2014). National identity in architecture: An interview with Rem Koolhaas. Architecture Australia, 103(2).
Martinez-Millana, E., & Cánovas Alcaraz, A. (2020). Domesticity ‘Behind Bars’: Project by Rem Koolhaas/OMA for the Renovation of a Panopticon Prison in Arnhem. Buildings, 10(7), 117.
Neto, F. L. (2019, September). Aesthetic Delirious Urbanism–Rem Koolhaas. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 603, No. 3, p. 032057). IOP Publishing.
Nevárez, J. (2021). Seattle’s Public Library, Libraries for All:“To Bring People, Information, and Ideas Together to Enrich Lives and Build Community”. In The Urban Library (pp. 49-57). Springer, Cham.
Nicolai, B. (2013). New Monumentalism in Contemporary Architecture. Anglia, 131(2-3), 297-313.
Nicolau, A. (2018). Rhetorical Figuration in the Work of Rem Koolhaas. Cuadernos de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, (8), 175-179.
Pallister, J. (2014, September). Rem's remedies: Rem Koolhaas' architecture biennale benefits from being research-focused. In Apollo (Vol. 180, No. 623, pp. 126-128). Apollo Magazine Ltd..
Pataky, T. B. (2021). Inventory of Problems: The Genesis of the Rotterdam Kunsthal by OMA/Rem Koolhaas, 1987-1992 (No. THESIS). EPFL.
Picon, A. (2013). Learning from utopia: contemporary architecture and the quest for political and social relevance. Journal of architectural Education, 67(1), 17-23.
Quintas, J. L., & Díaz, L. R. (2016, June). The Architect of the Future According to Rem Koolhaas. Key Points for Its Necessary Adaptation and Pedagogical Conclusions. In Congreso Internacional de Expresión Gráfica Arquitectónica (pp. 777-785). Springer, Cham.
Seamon, D. (2016). A phenomenological and hermeneutic reading of Rem Koolhaas’s Seattle Central Library: Buildings as lifeworlds and architectural texts. In Take one building: Interdisciplinary research perspectives of the Seattle Central Library (pp. 83-110). Routledge.
Shin, Y. J., & Baek, J. (2019). From Complexity to Hybridity: Transformative Combinations of Different Programs in Stadium Architecture. Architectural research, 21(3), 59-67.
Şimşek, O. (2019). Emptiness and Nothingness in OMA’s Libraries.
Stanek, Ł. (2012). „Architecture as Space, Again. Notes on the ‘Spatial Turn’,” SpecialeZ, 4, 48-53.
Van Gerrewey, C. (2011). 'What are Men to Rocks and Mountains'-The Architectural Models of OMA/Rem Koolhaas. Oase-Tijdschrift voor Architectuur, (84), 31.
Van Gerrewey, C. (2019). Outreach Extensions: OMA/Rem Koolhaas Exhibitions as Self-Critical Environments. Architectural Theory Review, 23(1), 90-113.
Ventura Blanch, F. (2020). The relationship between drawing and writing in Rem Koolhaas’ training as an architect (1968-1972). EGA Expresión Gráfica Arquitectónica, 25(40), 254-265.
Verschaffel, B. (2013). Reading Rem Koolhaas. Architectural Histories, 1(1), 1-3.
Zook, J. B., Bafna, S., & Greene, M. (2012). Imaginative content and building form in the Seattle Central Public Library. In Proceedings: Eighth International Space Syntax Symposium (pp. 1-24).
How to Cite
JUNG, Chuloh; SHERZAD, Mohammed; ARAR, Mohammad. The Analysis of the Spatial Configuration of Rem Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library. International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering Innovation, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 3, p. 63-75, oct. 2021. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 may 2022.