KCLS’ Tukwila Library receives a 2019 AIA Civic Design Award

The King County Library System’s (KCLS) Tukwila Library received a 2019 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Washington Council Civic Design Award. The Civic Design Awards honor the design excellence of publicly-funded projects in Washington State, and showcase projects that demonstrate the highest standards in sustainability, innovation, building performance and integration into surrounding communities. This year, 12 projects out of 41 submittals were recognized in four categories—Honorable Mention, Citation, Merit and Honor—among which, the Tukwila Library received a Citation Award.

“KCLS is honored to accept this award,” said KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “From the innovative eco-friendly features, to the bright and welcoming interior, to the artwork inside and out, the new Tukwila Library has become a beloved, and much-used, community resource.”

Opened in April 2017, the 10,000 square-foot, $8.9 million Tukwila Library is nearly double the size of the former Foster Library it replaced. It was built to last, with innovative and sustainable features that require minimal maintenance over time. The primary exterior materials of glass, terra cotta, wood and zinc were selected for their inherent durability and enduring quality. Heat-and drought-tolerant native plants were incorporated into the landscaping, and a vegetated roof was installed to help regulate interior temperatures and reduce stormwater runoff by an estimated 60 percent. Regionally-sourced wood can be found throughout the interior, and large operable windows and skylights provide natural ventilation and lighting. The Library also features energy-efficient radiant heating, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and paints and materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Tukwila Library is also a focal point of the Tukwila Village, a multicultural and multigenerational neighborhood center. Designed to reflect the needs of the community, the Tukwila Library serves as a local hub, where residents can find flexible spaces for a variety of uses, including tutoring; studying; programs; classes; lectures; music and art performances; and author readings. Tukwila’s rich history and diverse communities are also celebrated in the Library’s native landscaping, which includes a regionally symbolic row of Hazelnut trees. The city’s first residents, the Duwamish Tribe, named the area, “Tukwila,” or “Land of Hazelnuts.”

Stunning artwork at the Tukwila Library includes an interior mural by artist Kelly Staton, and walls with perforated patterns that represent maps of the world and northwest Washington to invite visitors to reflect on their journey to the region. Outside, a colorful steel-blade sculpture by Seattle artist John Fleming, titled “Multiplicity,” stands as a 30-foot tall beacon, welcoming residents inside.  

About King County Library System
Founded in 1942, the King County Library System (KCLS) is one of the busiest public library systems in the country. Serving the communities of King County (outside the City of Seattle), KCLS currently has 50 libraries and more than 700,000 cardholders. In 2011, KCLS was named Library of the Year by Gale/Library Journal. In 2018, residents checked out more than 4.8 million digital eBooks and audiobooks through Rakuten OverDrive, making KCLS the #1 digital circulating library in the U.S. and #3 in the world.

King County Library System Media Contact: Sarah Thomas, 425.369.3277, sjthomas@kcls.org