“The Library of Babel,” a short story written by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges describes a library-like universe composed of an indefinite number of books and bookshelves. If such a library existed in our universe, perhaps it would look something like the Tianjin Binhai Library.
Dutch architecture firm MVRDV along with the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), have designed China’s massive new library in Tianjin as part of the city’s Binhai Cultural Center and part of a larger urban plan to provide a cultural district for the city.
The futuristic five-story library occupies an area of 33,700 square meters and is filled with 1.2 million books in a space straight out of a sci-fi novel. The library’s rectilinear outer envelope is defined by its topographic interior atrium that is centered by a spherical, mirrored auditorium, touted as the “Eye of Binhai.”
“The Eye is the centre of the library,” MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas said. “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. 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.”