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The Tianjin Binhai Library

16 November 2017

From The Telegraph:

A futuristic library which has opened in China with 1.2 million books on display is something of a bookworm’s dream.

The library was built in Tianjin, a coastal metropolis located around 100km outside of the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Dutch architects MVRDV, in collaboration with local designers TUPDI, created the library to resemble a giant eye.

The five-storey building features a floor-to-ceiling bookcases cascade, which acts as “everything from stairs to seating”.

Link to the rest at The Telegraph and thanks to Jan for the tip. More photos at the link.

Libraries, Video

7 Comments to “The Tianjin Binhai Library”

  1. How are you supposed to access the books on the inverted shelves??

    • If you look carefully around the 35 second mark you’ll see that all of the ‘shelves’ are backed by wallpaper that depict books. only the lower shelves actually have books on them.

  2. Richard Hershberger

    This looks like a classic example of architecture designed to be pretty without much concern for its function. Joe asks how you access to books on the inverted shelves. Regardless of the answer, this clearly is terrible for browsing. This is not a space for book lovers to find books. It is a space to show off the vision of the architect and the people that signed off on the design. Also, 1.2 million volumes is not terribly impressive. It would make for a poor-to-mediocre academic library. This seems to be more along the lines of a municipal library, where 1.2 million is a substantial collection, but they would have room for a whole lot more with better use of space. Clearly actual books are not the point here, for good or ill. But then don’t brag about how many you have.

  3. But if it gets more people to consider reading books than heretofore have read books, it has achieved its purpose.

    Sometimes – and maybe in these flashy times – you have to be a little flashy (and all the books are avilable as digital downloads to take home?).

    Also, ‘more than we have had before’ is good, if libraries are not the same as they are in the US.

    I grew up in Mexico, and there was NO public library. Think about that.

    • I grew up in Mexico, and there was NO public library.

      Is there now?

      • Not really. Not public. I’d have to ask my sisters.

        Schools have their own libraries, and teach reading. I don’t know if they encourage kids to borrow, take class time for reading, etc.

        It’s still a very traditional publishing system.

        I think I went a little crazy with libraries when I came back to the States, and I know we were our public library’s best customers when we homeschooled: a couple of hundred books for the three kids and me every two weeks. Nice red grocery cart to take the books in and out, and a whole stack of sturdy cloth bags (books are heavy and bulky). I remember slinging the bags into the back of the current family minivan.

  4. Just from the still image (not playing the video), I can tell two things about this library.

    1) It’s very beautiful on the inside.

    2) It’s not very user-friendly.

    Quite a number of those shelves would be uncomfortable, at best, for me to access, and that’s presuming I wouldn’t experience any discomfort (or pain) with just getting to the shelves the books are on.

    I wonder who China is trying to impress, and what they’re trying to say about themselves, with this library.

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