The terraced bookshelves create an interior, topographical, landscape with contour lines, or shelves, that also reach out and wrap around the façade, says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV.
“In this way, the stepped bookshelves inside are represented on the outside – with each shelf corresponding to an external louvre. The louvres filter excessive sunlight, while still creating a bright and evenly lit interior.”
As eye-catching from the outside as the inside, an oval opening punches through the side of the building, ‘visually propped open’ by the eyeball auditorium seen in the interior behind. The building itself sits within a sheltered gallery, topped with cathedral-like vaulted end arches.
As well as a mecca for anyone who loves books and reading, the building also contains extensive educational facilities, arrayed along the edges of the interior and accessed via the atrium. The ground and first 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 rooftop patios. And underpinning the library’s public program, there are underground service spaces, extensive book storage facilities, and a large archive.“
Tianjin Library is part of German architects GMP’s 120,000m² masterplan, which aims to accentuate the characteristics of the surrounding districts,” says Maas. “Through its design, the cultural complex is a symbolic junction point for the CBD, the old sector of the city, residential districts, commercial areas and the government quarter.”