Dutch architecture firm MVRDV along with the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), have designed China’s massive new library in Tianjin as part of the city’s Binhai Cultural Center and part of a larger urban plan to provide a cultural district for the city.
Covering an enormous 362,744 square feet of space, the library’s rectilinear outer envelope is defined by its topographic interior atrium that is centred by a spherical, mirrored auditorium, touted as the “Eye of Binhai. The Eye is the centre of the library,” MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas said. “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. In its heart is the auditorium which mirrors the environment, giving a 360-degree panorama of the space inside; a truly reflective and pensive environment.” Boasting about 1.2 million books across the sweeping circular architecture, the Tianjin Binhai Library features five floors and books can be found on every corner.
The library, one part of a larger cultural complex masterplan, bases itself around a spherical auditorium which, coupled with the main atrium, forms an eye that acts as a focal point for the interior space. Terraced bookshelves echo the sphere throughout the atrium, leading users up into the heart of the library, before continuing around the building as louvers.