The Tianjin Binhai Library in China opened its doors one year ago after taking architects MVRDV only three years to design and construct it. The huge 36,000- square-foot library is structured to look like a three-dimensional eye, with a large luminous sphere in the centre, surrounded by sweeping floor to ceiling bookshelves that contain a staggering 1.2 million books!
The library is part of the ‘Binhai Cultural Centre’ and is one of their top attractions, luring over 15,000 visitors every weekend. Other parts of the centre include an art gallery, a museum, a large stage for live theatre and entertainment, shops and eateries. It is easily accessible and a fantastic modern hub that not only functions as an education centre, but also as a social space and connector from the local park into the cultural district.
“The Eye is the centre of the library. It ‘hollows out’ the building and creates, out of bookshelves, an environment to sit, to read, to hang out, to climb and to access, to create an organic social space,” explains the architect behind the library, co-founder of MVRDV, Winy Maas.
Tianjin Binhai Library contains a diverse range of educational facilities, across all five floors, to appeal to every demographic, interest and education. The library also features reading rooms, lounge areas, meeting rooms, offices, computer and audio rooms and two rooftop patios for when the sun is shining.
Take a look inside Tianjin Binhai Library here.
It is fantastic to see creative, intelligent library design come to life and be such a success. This project has really highlighted the importance of adapting to the times, creating modern spaces, utilising technology and providing a community hub for education and socialising. With tight library budgets in mind, it is clear that many libraries can’t afford extensive refurbishment projects. However, making small changes to make library spaces more inviting, open and technology-driven is proving to be the way forward.
Rob Green, Editor-In-Chief at CILIP says;
‘Intelligent library design allows services to adapt, for new services to be introduced and for a building to meet the needs of its users.