At first glance, it almost appears as if a glowing white spacecraft has landed at Binhai Cultural Center, the new recreational district in Tianjin, China. In fact, it’s Tianjin Binhai Library.
But don’t expect the same tired tomes. This exceptional public library now features 200,000 books on its undulating shelves, and in the future it could amass more than 1 million volumes.
The library’s futuristic space spans 33,700 square meters, featuring an eye-shaped atrium designed to be “a new urban living room,” according to the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV, which built it alongside Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute.
“The eye is the center of the library. It hollows out the building and creates, out of bookshelves, an environment to sit, to read, to hang out, to climb and to access, to create an organic social space,” MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas has said. “In its heart is the auditorium which mirrors the environment, giving a 360-degree panorama of the space inside, a truly reflective and pensive environment.”
The library is in good company surrounded by other cultural buildings housing an art museum, a discovery center, an arts center and a citizens’ center.