Tianjin Binhai Public Library: Dutch firm MVRDV has built a public library, designed in collaboration with the Tianjin urban planning and design institute (TUPDI). That looks like a huge 3D eyeball, as part of a new cultural district in Tianjin, China. The atrium of the Tianjin Binhai Public Library is deliberately designed to look like a 3D eyeball, staring out through the building’s glazed facade. The ‘Tianjin Binhai public library’ not only acts as an educational resource but also as a link between the adjacent park and the new cultural district. Bookshelves on either side of the sphere provide both stairs and seating, before continuing along the ceiling to create an illuminated topography.
- Tianjin Binhai public library architecture.
Tianjin Binhai public library architecture.
MVRDV first revealed its designs for the Tianjin Binhai Public Library in June 2016, when construction was already well underway. It is one of five buildings commissioned by the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute to form a new cultural center for the Binhai district of the coastal city.
Public library design concepts:
The masterplan for the area was set by German firm GMP – and MVRDV found it a struggle to fit the entire programme into the allotted space. It was this that led the team to create the spherical auditorium at the center. Not being able to touch the building’s volume we ‘rolled’ the ball-shaped auditorium demanded by the brief into the building and the building simply made space for it, said Maas.
The 33,700-square-metre building is the Dutch firm’s fastest project completion to date – with a period of just three years between the first sketch and the opening ceremony. Fast-tracking the process caused a few design headaches. The upper shelves directly above the atrium are currently unreachable after planned access rooms were dropped – a decision MVRDV said was taken by the local team against their advice.
As a result, these shelves are covered in perforated aluminum plates that printed to look like books. They are cleaned using a system of moveable scaffolding and ropes. The firm said they hoped that their full vision for the library may be realized in the future.
Fact file of Tianjin Binhai library architecture design:
Architects: MVRDV, Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute
Location: Tianjin, China
Area: 33700.0 m2
Project Year: 2017
Photographs: Ossip van Duivenbode
Design Team: 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.
Concept Design: 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
Structural Engineers: Sanjiang Steel Structure Design
Interior Architect: TADI interior architects
Lighting Design: Huayi Jianyuan lighting design
Public library design concepts:
The five-story-high space is framed by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, which are staggered at different levels to form the shape of an eye socket, while a spherical mirrored auditorium at the center forms the pupil. The curving lines of the shelves provide areas where visitors can sit and read, and observe others doing the same. They also continue out across the glass facade, forming louvers that deflect the glare of the sun.
Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, described the finished interior as almost cave-like, a continuous bookshelf. We opened the building by creating a beautiful public space inside. A new urban living room is its center, he said. 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.
Tianjin public library design ideas:
The Tianjin Binhai public library also houses education facilities. Which are located around the periphery of the interior and accessed via the main hall. Subterranean rooms hold a large archive and provide extra book storage. Reading areas for children and the elderly are located on the ground floor, with reading rooms and lounge areas on the first and second floors. The upper floors contain meeting rooms, offices, computer rooms and two rooftop terraces.
Tianjin Binhai Public Library sits alongside building a new exhibition center by GMP. As well as other cultural buildings by Bernard Tschumi Architects, Bing Thom Architects and HH Design. All five are connected by a public corridor sheltered beneath a glass canopy.
Library architecture design plans:
The Tianjin Binhai public library Images:
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- SPIRAL OF KNOWLEDGE – A Media Library at Dalarna Architecture.
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- Museum Of Contemporary Art Shanghai by Atelier Deshaus in Shanghai.
Tianjin Binhai Library was built according to the Chinese Green Star energy efficiency label and has achieved two-star statuses. Since its opening on 1 October 2017. The library 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, it is clear that the people of Tianjin have embraced the new space – and that it has become the urban living room it was intended to be.