The Ballard Public Library redefines a library’s typical purpose and becomes more than a house for books. Along with emphasizing the importance of learning, the Ballard Library serves as a civic space for the community and as a representative of a sustainable design that connects with the area’s culture.

The Ballard includes 15,000sq.ft. of library space and a 3,600sq.ft. Neighborhood Service Center. The Ballard is conscious of the technological media trend and has thirty-eight computer stations along with videos, books, magazines, and newspapers. However, the library's main function is to cater to the community. Ballard’s strong Scandinavian and maritime roots influenced the library’s design. The vernacular architecture of Scandinavia is imprinted in the library’s style. In addition, the library has a windswept field for a green roof whose underside looks like the hull of a Scandinavian ship. This roof is supported by large steel columns that are reminiscent of the masts on the nearby Puget Sound. Equally important are the gathering spaces the library provides, including a large multipurpose room, several reading rooms, a deep porch at the entry that is furnished for group gatherings, and an outdoor skate park. The Neighborhood Service Center provides a place for community members to pay taxes and water bills and have civic meetings.

The Ballard library also educates the community on the importance of sustainability. The green roof has a periscope where visitors can travel to the roof and observe the plant-life. Meters in the children’s section record and display the amount of energy produced by the library’s seventeen photovoltaic arrays. Tours teach visitors about natural light created by the curvature of the green roof and also how it serves to reduce storm water runoff and the heat-island effect. Overall, the Ballard Library provides its community with many opportunities for learning and gathering.

Curvature of the roof interacting with the sun rays and wind.

Conference room

View of green roof
Visitors in the perisocope on the roof
skate park

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