Tianjin Binhai Library in China

Tianjin Binhai Library, China, Architecture, Images, Building Development, Images

Tianjin Binhai Library in China

Chinese Building Development – design by MVRDV, Architects

7 Nov 2017

Tianjin Binhai Library in China

Architects: MVRDV with TUPDI

MVRDV completes Tianjin Binhai Public Library

Tianjin Binhai Library

Photos: Ossip van Duivenbode

MVRDV in collaboration with local architects TUPDI has completed the Tianjin Binhai Library, a 33,700 sqm cultural centre featuring a luminous spherical auditorium around which floor-to-ceiling bookcases cascade.

The undulating bookshelf is the building’s main spatial device, and is used both to frame the space and to create stairs, seating, the layered ceiling and even louvres on the façade. 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.

Tianjin Binhai Library

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.

Tianjin Binhai Library

Tianjin Binhai Library

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

Tianjin Binhai Library

“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, as a ‘hug’ between media and knowledge” 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 as reading, walking, meeting and discussing. Together they form the ‘eye’ of the building: to see and be seen.”

Tianjin Binhai Library

Tianjin Binhai Library

The five level building also contains extensive educational facilities, arrayed along the edges of the interior and accessible through the main atrium space. Public program is supported by subterranean service spaces, book storage, and a large archive. From the ground floor visitors can easily access reading areas for children and the elderly, the auditorium, the main entrance, terraced access to the floors above and connection to the cultural complex. The first and second floors consist primarily of reading rooms, books and lounge areas whilst the upper floors also include meeting rooms, offices, computer and audio rooms and two roof top patios.

Tianjin Binhai Library

Tianjin Binhai Library

The library is MVRDV’s most rapid fast track project to date. It took just three years from the first sketch to the opening. Due to the given completion date site excavation immediately followed the design phase. The tight construction schedule forced one essential part of the concept to be dropped: access to the upper bookshelves from rooms placed behind the atrium. This change was made locally and against MVRDV’s advice and rendered access to the upper shelves currently impossible. The full vision for the library may be realised in the future, but until then perforated aluminium plates printed to represent books on the upper shelves. Cleaning is done via ropes and movable scaffolding.

Tianjin Binhai Library

Tianjin Binhai Library

Since its opening on 1 October the building has been a great hit in Chinese media and social media; reviews describe it as an ‘Ocean of Books’ (CCTV) and the ‘Most beautiful library of China’ (The Bund). Comments on social media call the building a ‘sea of knowledge’, ‘Super Sci-Fi’ or simply ‘The Eye.’ Most importantly, it is clear that the people of Tianjin have embraced the new space – and that it has become the urban living room it was intended to be.

Tianjin Binhai Library

Tianjin Binhai Library was built according to the Chinese Green Star energy efficiency label and has achieved two star status. MVRDV collaborated with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), structural engineers Sanjiang Steel Structure Design, TADI interior architects and Huayi Jianyuan lighting design. It is the second realised MVRDV project in Tianjin following TEDA Urban Fabric, completed in 2009.

Tianjin Binhai Library

Photography: Ossip van Duivenbode

previously on e-architect:

23 Jun 2016

Tianjin Binhai Library Building Design

Architects: MVRDV / TUPDI

Tianjin Binhai Library China

Tianjin Binhai Library

MVRDV are nearing the completion of a library in Tianjin, China. The 34,200 sqm building forms part of the new Binhai Cultural Centre, the masterplan of which was designed by German architects GMP, and joins four other buildings through a series of ‘cultural corridors’. The library bases itself around a mirrored spherical auditorium which, coupled with the main atrium, forms an eye that gives panoramas of the interior space and reflects the beautiful park in front of the building. Terraced bookshelves echo the sphere throughout the atrium, leading users up into the heart of the library, before continuing around the building as louvres. The cultural project was designed for Tianjin Binhai District and is estimated to be open to the public in mid-2017.

Tianjin Binhai Library

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.

Tianjin Binhai Library

“The Eye is the centre 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.”

Tianjin Binhai Library

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 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 is an internal space, like an inverted icon, acting as a central point and folly in the building.

The project will be MVRDV’s second completed design in Tianjin. TEDA Urban Fabric, completed in 2009, provided 280,000 m2 of mixed high and low-rise housing and retail.

Tianjin Binhai Library

Tianjin Binhai Library in China images / information from MVRDV

MVRDV on e-architect


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Website: Tianjin in China

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