The Tianjin Binhai Library in China is one of the most beautiful and visionary libraries in the world. It serves not only as a library, but as a social space and link between the historical, commercial and residential areas of the city and the new cultural district in which it stands.
At the core of the building is an atrium, with an enormous, illuminated sphere in the centre. The sphere is surrounded by undulating bookshelves that follow the curves of the walls, blurring the lines between the architectural structure and the sea of books contained therein. As well as reading rooms and archives, the library contains learning spaces for children and the elderly, conference rooms, offices and areas for cultural activities. A sensational encounter between east and west, the Tianjin Binhai Library was designed in far-off Rotterdam by architectural firm MVRDV. The building is one of the firm’s most swiftly developed projects; with only three years between the initial sketch and the grand opening.