Skyway Library

client: king county library system

size: 30,800 sf site, 8,000 sf library

location: seattle, washington

duration: 2012-2016

construction cost: $3,720,000

awards: 2018 aia washington civic design citation award, 2018 aia northwest and pacific region merit award

The Skyway Library is one of many libraries Swift has designed, illustrating a commitment to community equity. Libraries are based on trust between strangers as they borrow, not buy, and navigate the shared spaces that provide access to both quiet and social activities, online and offline resources, and safe spaces for both children and adults to congregate – inside and outside.

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Atop the hill at the intersection of Renton Ave S and 76th Ave S, the library is the focal point of Skyway’s civic infrastructure. The blue monolith rising from the landscape is a beacon, attracting people to its main entry plaza. The multi-functional plazas, combined with the curbless parking area, create a larger space that hosts weekly farmers’ markets, the annual car show, voter registration or other local community events.  This is a place for the community. 

The triangular site wraps the blue building with Swedish Poplars, adding height and vibrant fall color.  Wood-topped benches tie the site language into the wood-clad entry and roll down the ramp to create comfortable stopping points for library patrons. Jenny Heishman’s sculpture ‘Skystones’ marks the entry and, like the building, reflects the sky.

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