The Tianjin Binhai Library was a collaboration between architecture company MVRDV and the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI). The almost-40,000-square-metre space has been touted as being home to 1.2 million books and features a luminous spherical auditorium.
The library was built in a record-breaking time of only three years due to a tight schedule imposed by the city’s council. It features floor-to-ceiling bookshelves as well as cascading shelving with a dual purpose, acting as both storage and as stairs between the multiple levels.
“The Tianjin Binhai Library interior is almost cave-like, a continuous bookshelf. Not being able to touch the building’s volume, we ‘rolled’ the ball-shaped auditorium demanded by the brief into the building and the building simply made space for it, as a ‘hug’ between media and knowledge,” Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, said.
But all is not what it seems. While there’s certainly space for millions of books, the quick turnaround time and council restrictions mean real books have been replaced by painted varieties in the library’s photogenic main hall, AFP reports.
But that doesn’t make the library’s design any less stunning. On top of a massive reading space, lounge areas, offices, conference rooms kitted out with tech stuff and two rooftop gardens, the main atrium will be used for “circulation, sitting, reading and discussion”, rather than book storage.
While the library is currently home to around 200,000 books, authorities do plan to grow that collection to 1.2 billion. Lord have mercy on whoever has to return them to their rightful place.
How To Get There
- Fly into Tianjin Binhai International Airport
- Drive 50km (46 mins)
- Binhai, Tianjin, China
(All images: MVRDV)