Nobody likes to be watched while they’re trying to read a book, but we’re willing to make an exception if it means getting to visit this stunning new library in China, because as you can see below, the incredible structure has a giant spherical auditorium in the middle that looks just like a giant eye.
Located in the Binhai Cultural District In Tianjin, the five-story library, which was designed by Dutch design firm MVRDV in collaboration with the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) and has since been dubbed “The Eye of Binhai”, covers 34,000 square metres and can hold up to 1.2 million books. Taking just three years to complete, the library features a reading area on the ground floor, lounge areas in the middle sections and offices, meeting spaces, and computer/audio rooms at the top. We’re not sure how much studying we’d get done though – we’d be far too busy marveling at the awesome architecture!
What MVRDV says:
The futuristic library sits within a sheltered gallery, topped with cathedral-like vaulted arches, which winds its way throughout the scheme. MVRDV’s project is surrounded by four other cultural buildings designed by an international team of architects including Bernard Tschumi Architects, Bing Thom Architects, HH Design and GMP.
The five levels of the building contain an extensive programme of educational facilities. The subterranean level has in it service spaces, book storage, and a large archive, whilst above this on the ground floor are easy to access reading areas for children and the elderly, the main entrance and access to the cultural complex, the auditorium and terraced access to the floors above. The first and second floors consist primarily of reading rooms, books and lounge areas whilst the top two floors also include meeting rooms, offices, computer rooms, and audio rooms.
Tianjin Library is part of German architects GMP’s 120,000m2 masterplan which aims to accentuate the characteristics of the surrounding districts. Through its design, the complex will become a junction point for the CBD, old town, residential districts, commercial areas and the government quarter; hoping to compensate for any missing programme in each. The library’s outer volume was given in the masterplan so the Eye and its surrounding semi-public area are an internal space, like an inverted icon, acting as a central point and folly in the building.
The project will be MVRDV’s second completed design in Tianjin. TEDA Urban Fabric, completed in 2009, provided 280,000m2 of mixed high and low-rise housing and retail.
Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries with Wenchian Shi, María López Calleja, Kyosuk Lee, Sen Yang, Marta Pozo, Chi Li, Ray Zhu, Ángel Sánchez Navarro, Daehee Suk, Guang Ruey Tan, Xichen Sun, Michael Zhang, Mariya Gyaurova, Jaime Dominguez Bálgoma, Antonio Luca Coco, Costanza Cuccato, Matteo Artico, and Tomaso Maschietti
Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries with Renske van der Stoep, Martine Vledder, Kyosuk Lee, Gerard Heerink, Chi Li, Francisco Pomares, Nicolas Lee, Claudia Bode, Sharon Sin, Jaap Baselmans, Herman Gaarman, Hui Hsin Liao, Antonio Luca Coco, Costanza Cuccato, Matteo Artico and Tomaso Maschietti.
Co-Architect: Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), Tianjin, China
Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI)