MVRDV collaborated with local architects TUPDI, on realising Tianjin Binhai Library, one of the most photographed projects of 2017 that was both celebrated and divisive. The 33,700m2 cultural centre features a luminous spherical auditorium around which floor-to-ceiling bookcases cascade. The undulating bookshelf is the building's main spatial device and is used to frame the space, create stairs, seating, the layered ceiling and even louvres on the facade.
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. The library, located adjacent to a park, is one of a cluster of five cultural buildings designed by an international cadre 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 GMP. Within the GMP masterplan, MVRDV was given a strict volume within which all design was concentrated.
The building's mass extrudes upwards from the site and is punctured by a spherical auditorium in the centre. Bookshelves are arrayed on either side of the sphere and act as everything from stairs to seating, even continuing along the ceiling to create an illuminated topography. 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.
Tianjin Binhai Library was designed and built in a record-breaking time of only three years due to a tight schedule imposed by the local municipality. Next, to many media rooms, it offers space for 1,2 million books.