TIANJIN, China – MVRDV is no stranger to mesmerizing architecture that put a smile on your face. Unconventional and dazzling, the Tianjin Binhai Public Library looks like it comes straight out of a sci-fi movie and takes a step into the unknown future of literary spaces in a digital age.
The cultural centre is a 33,700-sq-m volume with a spherical auditorium, carving out a spectacular atrium surrounded by over a million books. ‘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, as a “hug” between media and knowledge,’ says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV and jury member.
The cascading floor-to-ceiling bookcase takes the spotlight in the project. This undulating bookshelf is its main spatial device – not only framing the atrium, but also creating stairs, seating and extending out to make the louvres of the façade. The contouring layers span the two fully-glazed facades as a protective device from excessive sunlight for the books inside. Just when you think the shelves do enough work, you notice it rising to the ceiling to create an illuminated topography.