Object of Thought, Seattle WA

This project explores the changing nature of the public realm and the relationship between knowledge and power: how knowledge is accessed, stored, and controlled. The site and program for the proposed Seattle Public Library at First Avenue and Pike Street was used as a starting point. It is a place that attempts to connect learning and experience because neither is isolated from the other. The Object of Thought will be a new public place.

This project consciously deals with the symbolic nature of the artifact. The obvious choice for a repository of knowledge was the human head. It is the place where the stimuli of the everyday fuse with internal images of memory and anticipation.

The use of the head ties this building to precedents in other humanistic gestures and artifacts. This artifact tries to address the current changes taking place on a social level, blurring the line between the organic and the inorganic.

The human brain offers inspiration for possible architectural spaces. Despite recent advances in medicine, much of the functional aspects of the brain are still very much unknown. This mystery is part of the inspiration. We do know that it is separated into two hemispheres by a longitudinal fissure that runs from front to back. Each of these hemispheres has distinctly different roles. Fissures also run from side to side and create even more regional specialization.

The architecture of the Object of Thought consciously echoes the architecture of the brain. It is partitioned with a longitudinal fissure and the intention is to respect the idea of the various regional personalities of the brain. Light enters from the upper regions of the fissure and is distributed with a sense of the mystery that exists in the inner working of the brain.

To reinforce the public nature of the project, a public space beginning at the street level was developed. Its boundaries were determined by thinking about the activities that might occur on the site rather than simply using the predetermined real estate boundaries, property line to property line