MVRDV : Tianjin Binhai Library

First stone of a huge cultural complex of 12 hectares, this huge library of 33 700 square meters was realized in Tianjin (China) by the Dutch agency MVRDV whose reputation is second to none. Comprising an auditorium and numerous study rooms, it houses more than 1,2 million books in an incredible space with rippling walls and ceilings.

And no, it's not an illusion, this library does exist! Located in the heart of Binhai, cultural district of the Chinese megalopolis, the project, commissioned by the Municipality at the agency MVRDV, is even more crazy than it looks. Indeed, built in just three years, it is the first element of a colossal complex comprising four other buildings for educational and cultural purposes, connected by a huge glass canopy, encompassing more than 12 hectares of outdoor spaces. In a few years, the park will host, in addition to the realization of MVRDV, a museum of contemporary art, a performance pavilion including two theaters, a community center and a focus of artistic exploration, designed by architectural firms Bernard Tschumi, GMP, Bing Thom and HH Design.


Opposite Ziyun Park, the Tianjin Binhai Library, 70 parallelepiped of 40 meters with a total area of ​​33 700 square meters, spread over five floors, has a glass façade punctuated by horizontal wooden shutters, letting the nerve center shine through of construction: its vast hall of 1 110 square meters. In triple height, it welcomes visitors through two entrances positioned north and south, then a spherical auditorium 300 places and 20 meters in diameter named The Eye, in reference to its round shape. Located under a circular atrium in metal structure covered with a white canvas, The eye is flooded with light. The wave of shock that seems to emanate from it is materialized by the undulating racks arranged all around in tiers, from floor to ceiling, constituting both circulations and seating for the readers. If the first 14 trays are accessible and contain real works, the upper shelves, increasingly curved, are in turn clad aluminum plates on which book covers have been printed. These sinuous lines are magnified by a white neon unfolding above and below the shelves, reinforcing the place's incredible character.

Far from this avalanche of paper, the east and west flanks of the mastodon host on the ground floor service areas and a restaurant, and at the next two levels eight reading rooms 300 800 square meters, accessible by scholars since the vestibule thanks to discreet steps. The last two floors, each with 5 500 square meters, are entirely occupied by offices, conference and projection rooms, computer equipment and seven other pieces of consultation organized around a curved glazed patio.

An iconic achievement as sensational as the urban and cultural transformation it entails.

To learn more, visit the site of MVRDV

Photographs: Ossip
Illustrations: Tianjin Binhai Library

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