The new Binhai Library in Tianjin (天津滨海图书馆) has been called the ‘eye of Binhai’. The library, designed by the dutch firm MVRDV, has been inaugurated on the National Day earlier this month.
Binhai New Area (滨海新区; 濱海新區; Bīnhǎi Xīnqū), located on the coast of the Bohai Sea east of Tianjin’s main urban area, is a sub-provincial district and state-level new area within the jurisdiction of Tianjin Municipality and is part of the important Bohai Economic Rim.
MVRDV have, with the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), designed Tianjin Binhai Library as part of a larger plan to provide a cultural district for the city. The building acts not only as an education centre but as a connector from the park into the cultural district. An oval opening punctured through the building is propped open by the Eye, a mirrored sphere with an auditorium, which takes the main stage within the atrium and enlarges the perceived space within. Terraced bookshelves which echo the form of the sphere create an interior, topographical, landscape whose contours reach out and wrap around the façade. In this way, the stepped bookshelves within are represented on the outside, with each level doubling up as a louvre.
“The Eye is the center of the library. 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,” explains MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. “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.”
The futuristic library sits within a sheltered gallery, topped with cathedral-like vaulted arches, which winds its way throughout the scheme. MVRDV’s project is surrounded by four other cultural buildings designed by an international team of architects including Bernard Tschumi Architects, Bing Thom Architects, HH Design and GMP.
The five levels of the building contain an extensive programme of educational facilities. The subterranean level has in it service spaces, book storage, and a large archive, whilst above this on the ground floor are easy to access reading areas for children and the elderly, the main entrance and access to the cultural complex, the auditorium and terraced access to the floors above. The first and second floors consist primarily of reading rooms, books and lounge areas whilst the top two floors also include meeting rooms, offices, computer rooms, and audio rooms.
Tianjin Library is part of German architects GMP’s 120,000m2 masterplan which aims to accentuate the characteristics of the surrounding districts. Through its design, the complex will become a junction point for the CBD, old town, residential districts, commercial areas and the government quarter; hoping to compensate for any missing programme in each. The library’s outer volume was given in the masterplan so the Eye and its surrounding semi-public area are an internal space, like an inverted icon, acting as a central point and folly in the building.
Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries with Wenchian Shi, María López Calleja, Chi Li, Ángel Sánchez Navarro, Daehee Suk, Guang Ruey Tan, Xichen Sun, Michael Zhang, Kyosuk Lee, Mariya Gyaurova, Jaime Dominguez Bálgoma, Antonio Luca Coco, Costanza Cuccato, Matteo Artico and Tomaso Maschietti.
Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries with Renske van der Stoep, Martine Vledder, Kyosuk Lee, Gerard Heerink, Chi Li, Francisco Pomares, Nicolas Lee, Claudia Bode, Sharon Sin, Jaap Baselmans, Herman Gaarman, Hui Hsin Liao, Antonio Luca Coco, Costanza Cuccato, Matteo Artico and Tomaso Maschietti.
Also published on Medium.