China opens new eye-shaped 1.2 million-book library


BEIJING – China opened the doors of its new, futuristic eye-shaped library carrying some 1.2 million books earlier this month.

The Tianjin Binhai Library, located just outside Beijing, features a luminous spherical atrium with bookshelves lining the walls, from floor to ceiling.

Dutch architectural firm MVRDV collaborated with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) to create the five-story space that resembles a three-dimensional eye from the outside. From the first sketch to its opening, the project took three years to complete, according to MVRDV.

The futuristic library has curved lines that also act as bookshelves arrayed on either side of the sphere and the stairs can be used as a seating area too.

The massive bookshelves that contour the library’s walls, rolling across the ceiling like waves, were designed to hold more than books. Visitors can walk among them.

“The angles and curves are meant to stimulate different uses of the space, such as reading, walking, meeting and discussing,” Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV said in a press release. “Together they form the ‘eye’ of the building.”

The first and second floor has reading rooms and lounges whereas the upper floors have meeting rooms, offices, computer and audio rooms and two rooftop patios.

“The library, located adjacent to a park, is one of a cluster of five cultural buildings designed by an international cadre of architects including Bernard Tschumi Architects, Bing Thom Architects, HH Design and MVRDV. All buildings are connected by a public corridor underneath a glass canopy designed by GMP. Within the GMP masterplan MVRDV was given a strict volume within which all design was concentrated,” said MVRDV in a statement.

The library has already attracted an average of 15,000 visitors on weekends.


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