Seattle is drawing a lot of architectural attention these days, and this fascinating essay and slide show by Witold Rybcyznski on Slate comes up with a new way of looking at four recent projects. He admits that on earlier visits to Seattle, the architecture seemed way too safe and dull. Benaroya Hall, by the Seattle firm of LMN, is given due praise for its acoustics and the way it works inside, but he dismisses the exterior as an "uninspired mix of architectural cliches." The Experience Music Project, by Frank Gehry, also gets a quick poke: "shallow and unconvincing." Rybcyznski spends most of his time on the downtown Seattle Public Library, by Rem Koolhaas, and the Olympic Sculpture Park, by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi. Here he finds much to admire and, best of all, a creation of an architectural sensibility that matches the city, rather than just importing styles from other places. He zeroes in on the library's roughness, "almost crudeness" of detailing, noting all the ways it is "an affront to conventional 'good taste.'" That in-your-face urban chic and lack of refinement, in turn, "feels just right for this city of outdoorsmen and software programmers." The light-filled vast spaces, while "not immediately clear that this is an ideal environment for reading," also reflect the Seattle hunger for sunlight. In short, it's a daring building that belongs in an edgy city, not in any city. The same theme shows up in Rybczynski's critique of SAM's new Sculpture Park, where he likes the way it avoids becoming a pretty park and instead, for example, uses concrete forms that almost would work as barriers on freeways. The design is tough-minded, he says, hard-edged and unpretty, forming "unsentimental counterpoints to the beauty of Puget Sound." (The art impresses him less, but he makes a big gaffe in misidentifying Richard Serra's monumental "Wake.") In the end, the library and the Sculpture Park carve out a new Seattle sensibility. They "riff on the city's unusual combination of high-tech smarts, iconoclastic roughess, and a closeness to nature." Sound like us?