The Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the US


[Editor’s note: Flavorwire is counting down our most popular features of 2010. This post comes in at position number 7. It was originally published November 22, 2010.] Most roundups of beautiful libraries focus on what’s inside. And while we love vaulted ceilings and overflowing bookshelves as much as the next guy, we’d argue that the facades are just as important. From futuristic steel-and-glass structures to early American structures steeped in design history, here are ten public libraries that prove that free books and internet access don’t need to be the only reason you visit these architectural gems.

Berkeley Public Library. Designed by James Plachek

The Central Library of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. Designed by Marcel Breuer

Harold Washington Library, Chicago, Illinois. Designed by Hammond, Beeby and Babka

Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Designed by César Pelli

The Richard Riordan Central Library, Los Angeles, California. Designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue

The McKim Building of the Boston Public Library. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White

New York Public Library. Designed by Carrère and Hastings

Parkway Central Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Renovation design by Moshe Safdie and Associates

Salt Lake City Public Library. Designed by Moshe Safdie and Associates and VCBO Architecture

Seattle Central Library. Designed by Rem Koolhaas of OMA and and Joshua Prince-Ramus of REX