Seattle’s South Park neighborhood is a rich, diverse place. The community’s vibrant spirit was the inspiration for the design, which includes a courtyard or “front porch” for South Park and several community gathering spaces. The library’s red stucco clad exterior and courtyards are an architectural homage to the area’s Latin community. To further connect to the community and amplify the library’s sense of place, the exterior courtyard incorporates a paving pattern representing the original course of the Duwamish River which winds along the eastern edge of the neighborhood.

The primary challenge presented by this 5,000 sf library was to express the cultural heritage of the area within the bounds of the very specialized needs of a library. It was very important to use materials that were warm, rich and colorful. The result is a building that is much more than a library: it is a space that both exudes and embraces the heart and soul of the South Park area as well as a lively place where people can find a sense of belonging and community. In 2007, the South Park Library received recognition for its thoughtful design and won both the Seattle Design Commission Design Excellence Award as well as the AIA Washington Civic Design Award.