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Monday, November 6, 2017

Topography of curved bookshelves!

Compiled by Team IAnD
Photography: Ossip van Duivenbode; courtesy MVRDV
Read Time: 2 mins 
"tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  

MVRDV in collaboration with local architects TUPDI has completed the Tianjin Binhai Library, a 33,700 sq. m. cultural centre in China, featuring a luminous spherical auditorium around which floor-to-ceiling bookcases cascade…

The undulating bookshelf is the building’s main spatial device. The building’s mass extrudes upwards from the site and is ‘punctured’ by a spherical auditorium in the centre. Bookshelves are arrayed on either side of the sphere and act as everything from stairs to seating, even continuing along the ceiling to create an illuminated topography. These contours also continue along the two full glass facades that connect the library to the park outside and the public corridor inside, serving as louvres to protect the interior against excessive sunlight, whilst also creating a bright and evenly lit interior.

"continuous bookshelves tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  

"hidden spaces tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  

Says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, “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.”

"undulating built form tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  
"undulating bookshelves tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  

The five-level building also contains extensive educational facilities, arrayed along the edges of the interior and accessible through the main atrium space. Public program is supported by subterranean service spaces, book storage, and a large archive. From the ground floor visitors can easily access reading areas for children and the elderly, the auditorium, the main entrance, terraced access to the floors above and connection to the cultural complex. The first and second floors consist primarily of reading rooms, books and lounge areas, whilst the upper floors also include meeting rooms, offices, computer and audio rooms and two roof-top patios.

"entrance tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  
"ball shaped auditorium tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  

The library is MVRDV’s most rapid fast track project to date. It took just three years from the first sketch to the opening. The tight construction schedule forced one essential part of the concept to be dropped: access to the upper bookshelves from rooms placed behind the atrium. This change was made locally and against MVRDV’s advice and rendered access to the upper shelves currently impossible. The full vision for the library may be realised in the future, but until then perforated aluminium plates printed to represent books on the upper shelves. Cleaning is done via ropes and movable scaffolding.  

"entrance lobby tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  
"facade tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©Ossip van Duivenbode  
"book mountain activities tianjin binhai library MVRDV indiaartndesign"
Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV ©MVRDV  


Since its opening on 1 October the building has been a great hit in Chinese media and social media; reviews describe it as an ‘Ocean of Books’ (CCTV) and the ‘Most beautiful library of China’ (The Bund). Comments on social media call the building a ‘sea of knowledge’, ‘Super Sci-Fi’ or simply ‘The Eye.’ Most importantly, the people of Tianjin have embraced the new space - and that it has become the urban living room it was intended to be. It offers space for 1.2 million books.

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