Dutch architectural firm, MVRDV in collaboration with Chinese firm TUPDI have created an astounding public library in Tianjin Binhai, China.
The interior of the building curves and warps to make visitors feel like they are visiting an underground cave. The library's collection of books are placed on curving shelves that reach from the floor to the ceiling. The centerpiece of the library is a ball-shaped luminous auditorium.
Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV describes the building saying: “We opened the building by creating a beautiful public space inside; a new urban living room is its center. 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.” Described as a “hug between media and knowledge”, the library features media spaces, reading rooms and meeting spaces amongst its 1.2 million books. The building also has two outdoor terraces if you need to grab some fresh air during your library stint.
An element in large urban masterplan
The library is part of a larger urban masterplan designed by the two firms. The library was designed and built in only three years - an astoundingly short amount of time for a building of this size and caliber.
Next to the library is a large public park, another part of the new urban design master plan. The overall plan also includes a cluster of buildings designed by many of the most famous living architects including Bernard Tschumi Architects, Bing Thom Architects, HH Design, and MVRDV. The buildings are connected by a glass canopy designed by GMP.
Books are here to stay
The library is a big investment in a country and a world that is increasingly turning its back on traditional books and instead are turning to screens.
Kindle celebrates its tenth birthday this year and more e-book shave been published in the last 12 months than ever before.
According to a report from The Guardian, e-book sales went from $20 million in 2006, the year before Kindle, to around $1 billion today. E-publishing roots can be traced back to 1993 when the author Peter James, published his novel ‘Host’ on two floppy disks. The publishing and writing worlds went crazy accusing James of killing the novel. James also made a prediction at the time that as soon as there was an easy and accessible way for people to access e-books, their popularity would spike. The innovative author is definitely getting the last laugh now. Although the investment in this library and others like it around the world, prove that paper books are not dead and that communities around reading are perhaps stronger than ever. Laura Nevanlinna, CEO of Kaiken Publishing says, “The printed book will continue to be essential to publishing in the next 10-15 years. However, it will become a luxury item (ex. fancy bind-ups), especially with picture books and highly visual genres. Likewise, e-books are here to stay as well. What will change most is our user interface. Instead of reading from several devices, we’ll choose just one—most likely our mobiles. We’re already seeing the serialization of books on mobile and this bite-sized approach to publishing will definitely continue.”