Salt Lake City Main Public Library

In 1999 Moshe Safdie proposed the winning entry for the design of the Salt Lake City Main Public Library. The Library wanted to double its collection, establish itself as a landmark in the city’s civic core and create a building “that would be more than a repository of books and computers but an inviting urban learning complex for the twenty-first century.”

The new library will occupy one quadrant of a city block with the main entry located at the northwest corner. The design for the library is comprised of two main components: a triangular volume housing the library and a free-standing curved wall containing retail and food establishments. In addition, the top of the curved wall serves as a skywalk providing access to a roof garden above the library.

The entry is through a glazed Urban Room. This room is conceived as a weather protected space for all seasons, ascending the full height of the building, and is generously endowed with daylight. A piazza leading from the Urban Room is inserted between the free-standing curved wall and a convex glazed wall of the library volume. The piazza will contain a sunken amphitheatre and a children’s garden. A strong connection will exist between the building’s Urban Room and its piazza, which are indoor and outdoor complements to one another.

The Library is organized into several components: the main Library block accommodates stacks and work areas; reading rooms located in the curved wall are accessed by bridges and the administrative and support services are located in a separate rectangular block adjacent to the main Library.