Let’s forget the idea of a library as dusty and dark place, frequented only by scholars and researchers.

The Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, worldwide known for its visionary and futuristic projects, has designed the new Tianjin Library in Binhai, China.

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Internal views of Tianjin Binhai Library, China. The bookshelves span from floor to ceiling; the topmost ones, being unreachable, display a print that simulates the book spines. Photos by Ossip van Duivenbode.

The project is part of a large masterplan that will provide the city with a large cultural pole that amazes for its appearance, almost like a spaceship. The library is located inside a five-storey building with a semi-transparent facade. From the square in front of it, one can see the magnificent entrance, a full-height space occupied by sinuous shelves full of books. The terraced book racks start from the floor and reach the end of the ceiling; their sinuous shape makes them seem light and ethereal.

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Views of Tianjin Binhai Library, designed by renowned Rotterdam studio MVRDV. From the outside, the atrium and the auditorium recall the shape of a large eye. Photos by Ossip van Duivenbode.

It is a large scenographic atrium, connecting the park with the interior of the library. At the center of the hall, a large luminous white sphere called ‘Eye’ astonishes the visitors. It is an auditorium where conferences and shows take place; from the outside, the calibrated game of transparencies on the façade makes the sphere look like the pupil of a gigantic eye.

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