If you love reading and want to lose yourself among books in a rather special place, then you should go to China, it is true, not just around the corner, but this library is worth a visit.
It is called “Tianjin Binhai Library” and is considered the largest and perhaps the most fascinating and suggestive library in the world. It was built in Binhai district, just over 100 kilometres from Beijing, the building covers an area of almost 34,000 square meters and can house up to 1.3 million books.
This huge cultural centre is the result of a collaboration between the TUPDI (Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute) and the architecture office firm MVRDV based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was inaugurated in 2017, after only three years of work, and after its opening has hosted about two million visitors in less than a year.
Let’s discover what makes this building so special. As soon as we enter the “Tianjin Binhai Library”, in the hall a spherical-shaped auditorium welcomes us, it is used during events and conferences. This huge luminous sphere is called “The Eye” because it looks like a giant eye surrounded by shelves, books and stairs. The inside of this building is completely white and consequently very bright, it has a futuristic style with wavy walls and sinuous lines in perfect harmony with the steps and runways. The walls are completely filled with books, each level has a name, but to someone’s disappointment, some of the volumes are unfortunately painted.
The library is spread over five floors. The underground floor is dedicated to the central archive and to the volumes storage; on the first and second level there are also reading rooms and lounge areas, in addition to thousands and thousands of books; in the higher floors you will find audio, computer and meeting rooms.
“We opened the building by creating a beautiful public space inside; a new urban living room is its centre. The bookshelves are great spaces to sit and at the same time allow for access to the upper floors. The angles and curves are meant to stimulate different uses of the space, such as reading, walking, meeting and discussing. Together they form the ‘eye’ of the building: to see and be seen”, said Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, about the project.
“Tianjin Binhai Library” is a paradise for book lovers, a true ocean of books that represents the icon of the libraries of the future.