Suzzallo Library, Seattle

4.6
#306 of 418 in Things to do in Seattle
Suzzallo Library is the central library of the University of Washington in Seattle, and perhaps the most recognizable building on campus. It is named for Henry Suzzallo, who was president of the University of Washington until he stepped down in 1926, the same year the first phase of the library's construction was completed. The library was renamed for him after his death in 1933.
The library's original architects, Charles H. Bebb and Carl F. Gould, called for three structures built in Collegiate Gothic style and arranged in a roughly equilateral triangle with a bell tower in the center. The proposed 300ft bell tower, however, was never built. A terra cotta bas relief of this plan, with the bell tower, can still be found on the wall outside the northeast entrance to Smith Hall.
The first phase, completed 1926, built the wing that forms the west face of the triangle. Its façade dominates the eastern side of the university's Central Plaza, better known as Red Square. The south wing, the second phase of construction, was completed in 1935. Part of this second phase added a floor between the first and second floors of the original building, and the curving Grand Staircase on either side of what was formerly a rotunda. The original plans for the third wing of the library, completed in 1963, were extensively revised, as by this time the University had largely moved away from its earlier architectural style and had adopted instead modernist concrete and glass forms. A fourth and final addition was completed in 1990 with the Kenneth S. Allen Library wing, named for the father of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen; the elder Allen was an associate director of the University library system from 1960 to 1982. Between the years 2000 and 2002, Suzzallo Library underwent extensive retrofitting to strengthen the structure's integrity as a precaution against the effects of an earthquake. It remained open to the public throughout the entire renovation process, although sections were closed for periods of time.
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Suzzallo Library Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
13 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The reading room in this library is super photogenic. Amazing vaulted ceiling, stained glass, lamps, etc... Be quiet in this room.  more »
  • This is the main library building that goes well with the campus. The interior design of the Starbucks Reserve on the ground floor is great, and the library above the stairs was magnificent and beautiful.
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