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Library Buildings : Architecture

Major Architectural Developments from around the world

Library Buildings

We’ve selected what we feel are the most important examples of Library Buildings. e-architect cover completed buildings, new building designs and architecture competitions across the world. The focus is on contemporary Library buildings but information on traditional buildings is also welcome.


We have 3 pages of Library Architecture selections with links to hundreds of individual project pages.

Library Buildings : architecture news + key projects (this page)

Library Building Designs : A-K

Library Architecture : L-Z

Library Building – Latest Designs Added

Architecture Designs – latest additions to this page, arranged chronologically:

Feb 13, 2018
Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Providence, RI, USA
Design: Anmahian Winton Architects
Joukowsky Institute
photo © Warren Jagger

Public Library Varna, Bulgaria – 5 Jan 2016
Design: spatial practice, architects
Public Library in Varna
image from architect

Varna Public Library Design Competition entry shortlisted in third place, our of 370 entries.

Jaime Garcia Terres Library, Mexico City – 3 Oct 2013
Design: arquitectura 911sc
Jaime Garcia Terres Library Building
photo : Jaime Navarro

The project is part of the ‘City of Books’, a project by the Mexican Secretary of Culture to acquire the personal book collections of the most relevant Mexican writers and intellectuals of the 20th Century and commissioning architects the design of each personal library to be housed within La Ciudadela, an 18th Century building in the central part of Mexico City.

Library of Birmingham, England – 5 Sep 2013
Design: Mecanoo
Library of Birmingham
photo : Christian Richters

Centenary Square, the largest public square in the heart of Birmingham, currently lacks cohesion or a clear identity or atmosphere. Mecanoo’s design transforms the square into one with three distinct realms: monumental, cultural and entertainment. These palazzos form an urban narrative of important periods in the history of the city; The Repertory Theatre (REP), a 1960s concrete building, the Library of Birmingham, designed in 2009 and Baskerville House, a listed sandstone building designed in 1936.

BnL Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg – 4 Sep 2013
BnL Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg
model photograph © Tomasz Samek

The planned BnL, with its new and optimized program, addresses the Boulevard with an inviting, transparent and representative conical facade that metaphorically sucks visitors deep into the interior. Above the entrance and behind the inwardly sloping facade are conference rooms (bridging the entrance foyer). The interior unfolds as a landscape of reading terraces stepping up to a consultation deck, the top of five floors of secure archives, a magazine acropolis, the core of the building.

Bayuquan Library Yingkou Plaza, Liaoning Province, north east China – 9 Aug 2013
Design: SH-DSD
Yingkou Plaza Bayuquan Library China
photo from architect

Bayuquan library is another project designed by DSD in Bayuquan near Bayuquan Theatre. The idea of this design was from two rotated books. And the rotated blocks provide a best view. The library is mainly made up of 3 parts including the basement block containing 2 levels, the cantilever (3rd floor) and the connection.

Municipal Library Setúbal, Portugal – 19 Jul 2013
Design: Jordana Tomé + Filipe Oliveira + Vitor Quaresma
Setúbal Municipal Library
image from architects
The Project designed by the architects Jordana Tomé, Filipe Oliveira and Vitor Quaresma was awarded with the first prize in the Public Competition for the Elaboration of the Project for Setúbal’s Municipal Library.

Dalian Library Building, China
Design: Preston Scott Cohen, Inc.
Dalian Library Building
image from architect

Dalian Library Building – 26 Apr 2013
Datong Library aims to resolve the tension between the two major roles of a central library: as a place of community promenade and gathering and as an archive of knowledge and quite place of study. The form of the building embodies this tension, centering on a reflected pair of exceptional spaces. At the heart of the spaces of public promenade is a garden courtyard, around which classrooms, a gallery, informal reading rooms, and an auditorium are arrayed.

New Central Library in Berlin, Germany
Design: Kubota & Bachmann Architects + Martinez
New Library Building Berlin
image : Jigen

New Library Building Berlin – 8 Apr 2013
This is a building proposal for the Berlin Central Library. Strategically sited within the city adjacent to the new Tempelhoff Park. The new library building should be viewed as a point of departure and is directly associated to the city’s commitment to future urban development within this area.

New Maranello Library, Emilia-Romagna, Northern Italy
Design: Andrea Maffei Architects
New Maranello Library Italy
photo : Alessandra Chemollo

Maranello Library Building – 4 Apr 2013
This library building replaces an ex industrial warehouse maintaining the perimeter walls. The typical idea of the classic library is changed in an organic transparent shape put inside the original perimeter of the industrial building. The space between the transparent curvilinear glass skin and the existing perimeter walls is occupied as a connection element by a water tank, that stretches to the north of the road. The two-floors library occupies a gross floor surface of 1175 sqm.

Ballyroan Library Building, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Design: Box Architecture
Ballyroan Library Building
photo : Paul Tierney

Ballyroan Library Building – 19 Mar 2013
The original library builidng was built in the 1980’s and served the community well over the past decades. However the library became outdated, in need of upgrading and became too small to deal with the collection of resources available to the community for reference or borrowing. After much consideration the existing building was demolished and rebuilt, doubling the size of the original library. A complete rebuild was deemed quicker, less disruptive, economic and a better environmentally sustainable solution.

University of Helsinki City Campus Library, Finland
Anttinen Oiva arkkitehdit Oy – aoa
University of Helsinki City Campus Library
photo : Mika Huisman

University of Helsinki City Campus Library – 13 Feb 2013
The new library building – the largest academic library in Finland – complements the urban block by adding a curved brick facade, integrated within the street line formed by the adjacent buildings. This imposing building in the centre of the city “provides a gateway to the new information age”.

Cultural Centre and Library in Karlshamn, Sweden
Design: schmidt hammer lassen architects
Cultural Centre Karlshamn
picture from architects

Cultural Centre and Library in Karlshamn – 25 Jan 2013
The New Cultural Centre and Library in Karlshamn, Sweden, is designed to gather the city’s cultural functions under one roof. schmidt hammer lassen architects has just won an international competition to design this 5,000 square metre cultural centre. Karlshamn will get a sculptural and flexible building containing a library, an exhibition area, a cinema, a tourist office and a café.

Brentwood Library, Toronto, Canada
Diamond Schmitt Architects
Brentwood Library Building
image from architects

Brentwood Library – 7 Nov 2012
This building has re-opened following a two-year renovation and expansion designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects. The updated library adds 30 percent more public service, collection and staff space configured on a tight site in the suburb of Etobicoke. The form of the original (1955) two-storey east wing is maintained and connects with a three-storey addition by a double-height Reading Room that houses the library’s main book collection and seating areas. Natural lighting is abundant throughout the library and all occupied spaces have windows and outdoor views.

Marne-la-Vallée University Library, Paris, France
Design: Beckmann-N’Thépé Agency
Marne-la-Vallée University Building
photo © Olivier Amsellem

Marne-la-Vallée University Library – 7 Nov 2012
The architects chose an audacious strategy for the design of this new building, which resembles a mound of earth ‘torn from its natural environment,’ in harmony with its surroundings. ‘Between naturalism and terror, ‘the Marne-la-Vallée Library puts us in touch with our dreams – active, joyous, sometimes disturbing, comforting, but always salutary’.

Book Mountain – Spijkenisse Public Library, Rotterdam The Netherlands
Book Mountain Rotterdam
picture : Jeroen Musch

Spijkenisse Public Library – 4 Oct 2012
Today Spijkenisse Book Mountain and the adjacent residential neighbourhood will be opened by Prinses Laurentien of the Netherlands. Manifesting itself clearly as a mountain of books on the town’s market square, the architecture is both an advertisement and an invitation for reading. Clever stacking of the buildings commercial functions produces its pyramidal form, which in turn, is wrapped in the libraries 480 meters route along bookshelves.

LiYuan Library, near Beijing, China
Design: Li Xiadong/Atelier
LiYuan Library Building
photograph from architects

Chinese Library Building – 20 Jul 2012
This architecture project is modest addition to the small village of Huairou on the outskirts of Beijing, just under a two hours drive from busy Beijing urban life. On the one hand it forms a modern programmatic complement to the village by adding a small library and reading space within a setting of quiet contemplation. On the other hand we wanted to use architecture to enhance the appreciation of the natural landscaping qualities.

Médiathèque Romain Rolland, Paris, France
Philippe Gazeau architecte
Paris Library Building
picture : Philippe Ruault

Médiathèque Romain Rolland – 16 Jul 2012
The Romainville multimedia library building is located in the heart of a dormitory town that is being completely renovated. The town planners wanted to open up the district by fragmenting the housing blocks, creating a central plain to provide a large park and two facilities, including the multimedia library which is intended to act as an attractive magnet on a neighbourhood level. The architecture floats between two ‘flying carpets’.

The Hive, Worcester, England
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Library Building Worcester
photo © Hufton & Crow

Library Building Worcester – 11 Apr 2012
The UK’s first purpose-built joint-use library building. The Hive which will serve the University of Worcester and the county that incorporates the county archive, a local history centre, accommodation for the County Archaeologist’s team and a ‘one stop shop’ for the local authority: The building design is a pioneering response to the challenge of providing a wide range of public services in an age of austerity whilst promoting social and environmental sustainability.

MedaTeca Building, nr. Milan, Lombardy, northern Italy
Alterstudio Partners
MedaTeca Building
photo from architects

MedaTeca Building – 6 Apr 2012
“This is MedaTeca: a contemporary architecture whose design, materials, façades colours and the large full-length windows that give onto the road, convey the public vocation of the building. The spaces are bright and comfortable, with double-height rooms and views between a floor and the other, furnished with pieces of the best Italian and International design and others especially designed by the architects.”

Biblioteca Central UAEM, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
REC Arquitectura Y Construccion
Biblioteca Central UAEM
image from architects

Biblioteca Central UAEM – 12 Feb 2012
The building complex is conceived in sub elements, each element rationally positioned and connected to one another with three generating ideas: culture, cultivation and domesticity.

Avondale Heights Library & Learning Centre, Melbourne, Australia
H2o architects, Collingwood
Avondale Heights Library Building
photograph : Trevor Mein – Mein Photo

Melbourne Library Building – added 26 Jan 2012
Following a decade of modest local development, the Victorian Government proposed a new community resource combining an existing former school gymnasium with a new library and learning centre. This presented the opportunity for a significant, easily found and adventurous building reflecting community cultural aspirations.

Library Building – Recent Designs Added

Taltal Public Library, Chile
Taltal Library Building
photo © macarenaalvarez

Biblioteca Pública Taltal – added 10 Jan 2012
The project to design the new public library building arose from a public competition process petitioned by the Municipality of Taltal in 2008. This building design received the first place selection.

Tianjin Binhai Library, China
KDG group, INC
Tianjin library
image from architects

Tianjin Library Building – 6 Dec 2011
Architecture competition – a proposal for redefining the appearance of the Tianjin Binhai Library, an existing four-story building situated on the bank of a river. The building is the center for this new development area, and the landmark for the waterfront walk.

Library Architecture – Key Projects

Key Architecture + Building Projects, alphabetical:

Aarhus Library, Denmark
schmidt hammer lassen architects
Aarhus Library
picture from architect

Aarhus Library Building
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt
Snohetta Architecture
Alexandria Library Building
photo from Snøhetta Architects

Alexandria Library Building
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France
Dominique Perrault Architects
Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterand
photograph © Georges Fessy / DPA / ADAGP

Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterand
Birmingham Library : Architecture Contest
Mecanoo Architecten
Birmingham Library building
picture from BQ

Birmingham Library building, UK
British Library building, London, UK
Colin St John Wilson
British Library
photo © Adrian Welch

British Library Building
City Library Helmond, The Netherlands
City Library Helmond
picture : Christian Richters

City Library Helmond
Czech National Library, Czech Republic
Future Systems, Architects
Czech National Library
picture from architect

Czech National Library – design competition
Hockessin Public Library, Delaware, USA
ikon.5 architects
Hockessin Public Library
photo © James D’Addio

Hockessin Library Building
King Abdulaziz Center, Saudi Arabia
King Abdulaziz Library
image : MIR

King Abdulaziz Library : design proposal
Library España, Colombia
Giancarlo Mazzanti Architect
Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo
photo : Sergio Gómez

Biblioteca Pública Santo Domingo
Library of the Future, Kortrijk, Belgium
Kortrijk Library
image © Luxigon courtesy REX

Kortrijk Library design
Royal Library extension, Denmark
Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen, Architects
Royal Library Copenhagen
picture : Adrian Welch

Sort Diamant : Black Diamond
Seattle Public Library, Washington, USA
Rem Koolhaas Architects / OMA
Seattle Library
photograph : Philippe Ruault

Seattle Public Library Building
Seville University Library, Spain
Zaha Hadid Architects
Seville University Library
picture from architect

Seville University Library
Stockholm Library, Sweden
winner : Heike Hanada
Stockholm Library building
image from AAC organisers

Stockholm Library building Competition
Surry Hills Library Building, NSW, Australia
Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp
Surry Hills Library Building
image : John Gollings courtesy by FJMT

Surry Hills Library Building
Turku City Library, Finland
JKMM Architects
Turku City Library
picture : Arno de la Chapelle

Turku City Library Building
Waalse Krook, Gent, Belgium
Waalse Krook
image ©

Waalse Krook Gent

More buildings + architecture projects online soon

Library Architecture – Links

Peckham Library, London : Stirling Prize winner 2000 – major architecture prize

Advocates Library Edinburgh

National Library of Scotland building

Comments / photos for the Contemporary Library Architecture page welcome

Library Buildings – page

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