Office News

Perkins+Will’s Newly Completed Tukwila Library Designed for, and Inspired by, Rich Diversity of Surrounding Community

Unique library features community-centered ‘mosaic space;’ public art program celebrating patrons’ global and local roots; and smart, sustainable design strategies including a roof with a negative-carbon footprint

The Seattle office of architecture and design firm Perkins+Will today announced the completion of the Tukwila Library, a new 10,000 square-foot building for the King County Library System (KCLS). Located 20 minutes south of Seattle in Tukwila, Wash., the new library was designed for one of the most diverse communities in the country, including for students at the most diverse high school in the U.S.— who collectively speak more than 80 different world languages at home.

“In designing the new library, we were inspired by the city of Tukwila’s rich cultural diversity, and set out to create a welcoming space that both services and celebrates it,” said Ryan Bussard, design principal with Perkins+Will. “At the heart of the library is the ‘mosaic space’ – a place where we envision celebrations and events, performances, contemplation, learning and reading – and that we hope will become a symbol of civic pride and a new gathering center for the community.”

The new Tukwila Library was designed by Perkins+Will to showcase natural elements of the Pacific Northwest – both inside and out. Regionally sourced wood is used throughout the interior and native plants are used in landscaping outside. A row of regionally symbolic Hazelnut trees – “Hazelnut” means “Tukwila” in Duwamish – align the southeast corner.

The exterior of the library is also designed with timeless-yet-modern materials, such as charcoal terra cotta, zinc cladding, aluminum sunshades and red- and purple-toned glass finishes. Large windows provide views to the outdoors and fill the space with plenty of natural light.

The design is rooted in the principles of sustainability and the building reflects this in several ways. The roof is made of cross-laminated timber, a relatively new engineered-wood product with many environmental advantages, including a negative carbon footprint. The wood in the building sequesters the same amount of carbon emitted by 91 cars in one year.

The library also has a “green” roof made up of heat- and drought-tolerant native plants that will help regulate the building temperature inside while preventing stormwater runoff outside by more than 60 percent.

“Perkins+Will created a beautiful, spacious design reflecting Tukwila’s diverse culture and community—and we’re thrilled to now serve as a welcoming destination and community space for access to the world of information and ideas,” said KCLS Interim Director Stephen Smith.

There are also various art pieces within the library for public enjoyment, including a sculpture by local artist John Fleming at the southwest corner, a mural by Kelly Staton in the children’s area, and abstract maps of both the world and northwest Washington flanking either end of the community room.

Additionally, the Tukwila Library offers improved technology – including free public WiFi inside and outside the building, additional computers for community members, and computer visibility from outside the building to encourage use.

The Tukwila library is located at 14380 Tukwila International Blvd., at the intersection of Tukwila International Blvd. and South 144th Street as part of the Tukwila Village development.

The Tukwila Library project team includes:
• Perkins+Will, architect
• Edifice Construction Company, general contractor
• Coughlin Porter Lundeen, structural and civil engineering
• WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, mechanical engineering, plumbing
• Stantec, electrical engineering, lighting and acoustical design
• Karen Kiest Landscape Architects, landscape architecture
• AECOM (previously Davis Langdon Associates), cost estimating

For more information, contact