The Eye Library

Forget about your preconceived notions of libraries being dark, dusty, and dreary. The only ‘d’ word to describe this five-storied Dutch-designed space with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves is dynamic. Take a look…

Dutch firm MVRDV has built a public library that looks like a huge eye, as part of a new cultural district in Tianjin, China.
The atrium of the Tianjin Binhai Public Library is deliberately designed to look like a 3D eyeball, staring out through the building's glazed facade.  But the design doesn’t stop there.

The five-storey-high space is framed by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, which are staggered at different levels to form the shape of an eye socket, while a spherical glowing auditorium at the centre forms the pupil.
The shelves themselves form a continuous sweeping cave wall like design, and also provide areas where visitors can sit and read.
Light and airy the windows are designed to deflect the glare of the sun.

The 33,700-square-metre building is the Dutch firm's fastest project completion to date – with a period of just three years between the first sketch and the opening ceremony.
It hasn’t been without its problems though. The upper shelves directly above the atrium are currently unreachable, after planned access rooms were dropped – a decision MVRDV said was taken by the local team against their advice.
Instead these shelves are covered in perforated aluminium plates to look like books, and not ruin the aesthetic of the building, although the company hope this can be rectified in the future, to fulfill its vision.

The library also houses education facilities, which are located around the periphery of the interior and accessed via the main hall. Subterranean rooms hold a large archive and provide extra book storage.
Reading areas for children and the elderly are located on the ground floor, with reading rooms and lounge areas on the first and second floors. The upper floors contain meeting rooms, offices, computer rooms and two rooftop terraces.

For more information feel free to visit MVRDV’s website here.