Check out this annoyingly scathing review of Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library. I can understand the pragmatic difficulties of the building, but the author gives no credit to the architectural ideas and concepts behind the design, choosing instead to depict Koolhaas as the naked emperor and failed filmmaker.
…silly and unsettling, there are the doors on Fourth Avenue, the closest thing to a grand entrance: set within bare brushed-metal channels, with no signage identifying the place save the street number “1000.” How hip, how insouciant. Yes, as Jacobs points out, you can tell it’s a library by the bookshelves visible through the adjacent glass walls. But that opaque, tunnel-like doorway in a glass wall remains irreducibly creepy, like a meat locker or abattoir.
Inside that door, foreign-language books and journals are packed away in their own private ghetto by the restrooms, isolated from other collections. And, most unsettling of all, the steeply banked, sternly regimented auditorium, with its view-occluded top levels, recalls both an operating theater and, as Pastier notes, “Orson Welles’ film of The Trial, with everyone sitting in perfect rows.” In that vein, a mood of confinement pervades the whole building… Our Cool House is a miraculous meld of spaciousness and claustrophobia; I met one claustrophobe who says he can’t bear to go into it.