project profile

Tianjin Binhai Library

Named as one of the best buildings of 2017 by the BBC and Architectural Digest, Tianjin Binhai Library was designed and built in just three years.

THIS is MVRDV’s second design project to complete in Tianjin, China following TEDA Urban Fabric, a 280,000sq m mixed use development in 2009. The futuristic library is MVRDV’s fastest project to date taking just three years from the first sketch to the opening. The Dutch practice worked with local

architects Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) to deliver the eye- catching project. The library was commissioned by Tianjin Binhai Municipality and is located in the cultural centre of Binhai district in Tianjin, a coastal metropolis outside Beijing, China. Located adjacent to a park, the library is one of a cluster of five cultural buildings designed by an international team of architects including

Bernard Tschumi Architects, Bing Thom Architects, HH Design and MVRDV. All buildings are connected by a public corridor underneath a glass canopy designed by German architects GMP. Within the GMP masterplan MVRDV was given a strict volume within which all design was concentrated. The 33,700sq m cultural centre features

an all-white spherical auditorium around which floor-to-ceiling bookcases cascade. The cathedral-like space features undulating rows of books that allow visitors to walk among various shelves. Bookshelves are arrayed on either side of the sphere and act as everything from stairs to seating, even continuing along the ceiling. These contours also continue along the two full glass facades that connect the

library to the park outside and the public corridor inside, serving as louvres to protect the interior against excessive sunlight whilst also creating a bright and evenly lit interior. “The Tianjin Binhai Library interior is

almost cave-like, a continuous bookshelf. 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,” says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “We opened the building by creating a

beautiful public space inside; a new urban living room is its centre. The bookshelves are great spaces to sit and at the same time allow for access to the upper floors. The angles and curves are meant to stimulate different uses of the space, such


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