Engineers from Seattle-based Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire andinternational engineering giant Ove Arup offered a brief overview of themechanical and structural elements of the building. The most visible designfeature of the building, its steel tubing, also provides the building’sstructural support, which has given many in the design community pause.The message from Jon Magnusson, principal of SWMB, to the skeptics: “Yes,it will stand up.” Structural engineer for the curvilinear Experience MusicProject, SWMB is no stranger to challenging projects.
“ We really like criticsm.Architecture is born inconfrontation.”
-rem koolhaasMagnusson noted that of the five most seismically activegeologic zones in the country, Seattle is ranked fourth.Koolhaas said at the December presentation that theirregular angularity of the building would resist seismicmovement: Atila Zekioglu of Ove Arup confirmed that,saying, “We feel very confident that the library possessesa seismic system that far surpasses the quality of typicalbuildings.”Stephen Jolly, mechanical engineer with Ove Arup, said despite beingsurrounded by larger buildings, the new Central Library will get a lot of sunexposure. To mitigate the effects of heat and light, the inside and outside glasspanes used in the building will be double-insulated with a special solar coating.He said the engineering team is developing a unique laminate to coat parts of the metal that will be most subject to high temperatures.The building, in keeping with the city’s sustainable design goals, will use freecooling and a rainwater reclamation system.The radical design, whether it’s adored or despised, is certain to put Seattle on thedesign world's map. The angular building appears transparent, clad in two layers of glass, which are supported by a lattice-like system of steel tubing encased in copper-colored mesh.