Seattle Central Library lights up the city…

The new Seattle Central Library, called in some news reports “one of the top 30 buildings in the world,” opened May 2004 to great fanfare. It established a significant new benchmark for sustainable building programs across the country.  Paramount luminaires were behind the scenes for the premier as thousands of first day visitors toured the building.

Sustainable Design Is Key

The new library was designed to stress innovation in sustainability and user-friendliness.  The project was a joint venture by the award-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), and LMN Architects of Seattle. Electrical engineering was provided by Arup. Contracting was managed by Hoffman Construction.

It is one of the largest structures under consideration for LEED silver status certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council to determine the degree of “green” and sustainable design. This promotes efficient use of energy for lighting, heating and cooling, along with other resources.

The Central Library outperforms the Seattle energy code by 10%. The building cuts water usage, light pollution and “heat island” effect, and features improved indoor air quality for patrons. During demolition of the previous building and construction, erosion was controlled. And more than 75% of demolition and construction waste was recycled.

Paramount Luminaires For Public Lighting

The Library’s lighting design was done by Kugler Tillotson from Tillotson Design Associates in New Your City, NY. Natural daylight is maximized throughout the building, while automatic controls bring up artificial lighting as the sun goes down. This maintains light levels for patrons throughout business hours.

LMN Architects Pragnesh Parikh and his team worked with Steve Kidder, LC at Sea-Tac Lighting sales agency in Tukwila, to find appropriate luminaires, and the project was specified by Lite Tech in New Your City, NY. Most of the luminaires are mounted high in large open spaces. However, the more enclosed space of the building’s 12-story emergency stairwell needed  efficient lighting that would be able to prove itself should the need arise, and yet be easy to maintain.

Paramount’s A1 Series Aerolux® fixtures (painted in a special Platinum color) were utilized in the stairwells, and Wet Location C0 & C2 Series Craft Lites® were used in other areas of this architecturally stunning building. The 100+ units use T8 fluorescent technology with electronic controls. Paramount’s industrial luminaires not only have a reputation of durable quality, their streamline style makes them fashionable with the ongoing retro-trends in architecture. All of these luminaires are now available with Paramount’s Starduster® LED technology.

Paramount’s A1Series Aerolux® Luminaire
Paramount’s C0 Series Craft Lite® Luminaire
Paramount’s C2 Series Craft Lite® Luminaire

A History of Innovation

The Central Library has a long history, making it an icon of Seattle’s civic pride. Andrew Carnegie donated the original Beaux-Arts design building in 1906. It was replaced in 1960. This second generation library introduced features such as air conditioning and escalators. Abstract art was also displayed, featuring Northwestern artists.

The new Library now fills the entire city block at 1000 Fourth Ave., still in the original location. The building has almost 363,000 square feet of space, including capacity for over 1.45 million books and materials. For the first time, it includes underground parking space for up to 140 vehicles.  The library is expected to serve up to 8,000 visitors a day, double the traffic in the old building.


  • For A1 Series Aerolux® details, click  HERE
  • For C0 Series Craft Lite® details, click  HERE
  • For C2 Series Craft Lite® details, click  HERE
  • For more Lighting Applications information, click  HERE
  • For Specialized Environment Lighting video, click  HERE
  • For Paramount’s “Manufactured in the USA” details, click  HERE

©1997-2017 Paramount Industries, Inc. 304 North Howard St. PO Box 259 Croswell, MI 48422 800-521-5405 fax 810-679-4045. All logos remain the property of their corporate owners and are for illustrative purposes only. No corporate endorsement by Paramount Industries have been given, nor is one implied. The P-Mark logo is a trademark of Paramount Industries.  Craft Lite® is a trademark of Paramount Industries. Starduster® is a trademark of Paramount Industries. All Rights Reserved.

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