Skylight Aperture Sundial
Montlake Branch, Seattle Public Library
2401 24th Ave. E.
Libraries for All Bond 1% for Art
Rebecca Cummins' sundial is comprised of five colored glass discs in the ceiling, held in place by steel brackets, which project colorful spotlights that float through the library as the sun moves across the sky. Markings on the floor indicate the position of solar noon from the spring to autumn equinox. The projected light from the first orange circle is designated the "aperture nodus" for the sundial, and its path is marked on the floor below to indicate both clock noon and solar noon.
The additional colored projections are decorative. The shape and position of the spotlights are continuously changing; near the summer solstice the projections of colored light elongate and splay down the staircase in the afternoon. At other times, the circles of color cross the walls, beams, patrons and bookcases. Before the spring equinox (about March 20), the projected circles shift south every day until the summer solstice (June 21), when they reverse direction and move north until after the autumn equinox (Sept. 23).
At night, artificial lights illuminate the colored discs.
In November 1998, Seattle voters overwhelmingly approved the $196.4 million "Libraries for All" bond measure to upgrade The Seattle Public Library with new facilities, technology, and books. The Montlake Branch was the 19th project completed under the "Libraries for All" building program.