Seattle City Hall: Seattle, WA
A Sense of Community
Environmental stewardship is a priority for Seattle. It was the first city to require all city buildings to achieve USGBC LEED® Silver rating or higher. The city's urban village strategy seeks a high-quality environment for the downtown area by promoting mixed building use and concentrated, pedestrian friendly and economically viable neighborhoods with enhanced public spaces to strengthen the sense of community. The new Seattle City Hall embodies these values. The terraced limestone base creates public plazas of varying scales and integrates the building into its steep site. The reflection of the glass fins creates an illusion of depth on the flat side of the building. It is animated in the changing light. The garden roof reduces runoff by soaking up Seattle's abundant rainwater, allowing it to evaporate gradually. Sidelights, interior windows and clerestories break down visual barriers inside the council chamber and lobby. The use of stone instills a sense of civic permanence. The red glass sun wall defines the main public plaza. In the lobby, steel columns establish a civic ambiance and human scale. The natural colors of the materials form the palette. Horizontal exterior sunshades work in concert with lightshelves to protect workers from harsh afternoon light while reflecting and diffusing light deep into adjacent office space. Translucent vertical glass fins catch and reflect late afternoon light into the building. Seattle City Hall's architecture expresses transparency, accessibility and openness. High-quality materials helped create a lasting, easy-to-maintain adaptable building.