Detail of the ceiling, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo:  Ossip van Duivenbode

The Power of the Interior

MVRDV and Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) have completed Tianjin Binhai Library (33,700m2) as a part of the cultural district for the city. Tianjin Library is part of German architects GMP’s 120,000m2 masterplan which aims to accentuate the characteristics of the surrounding districts.

Tianjin Binhai Library was designed and built in a record-breaking time (only three years) and offers space for 1,2 million books. Since its opening on 1 October 2017, the building has been a topic in many media and on social networks. This beautiful library was built according to the Chinese Green Star energy efficiency label. Undoubtedly Tianjin Binhai Library will become the new landmark of the city.

The best source for information about Tianjin Binhai Library is here, on the designer - MVRDV site. Here you can also find out about their other innovative Projects.

"The Eye of Binhai"- The Library with Unique Look

The auditorium with luminous sphere, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo:  Ossip van Duivenbode
The auditorium with luminous sphere, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

The main point of the Library is auditorium created in line with the brief. But design expression of the brief is specific: spherical auditorium is with a continuous floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. The wavy shelves create a dramatic topography in the interior.

In the middle of the auditorium is the luminous sphere. The staircases are located under it. This functional item, the designers have turned to aesthetes and important point of the auditorium.

The floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo:  Ossip van Duivenbode
The floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV;
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

The Consistency of Interior Design

Detail of the ceiling, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo:  Ossip van Duivenbode
Detail of the ceiling, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

The cascading bookshelves from the walls exceeding to the ceiling, in the same manner, giving the whole interior futuristic appearance. The design of the ceiling follows and highlight the luminous sphere below it.

Such interior design solution together with monochromatic approach erase the border between the vertical and horizontal surfaces treatment (walls, ceilings), causing the space of the auditorium to appear much larger than it really is.

Inside/Outside Connection

Connection of the auditorium with surroundings, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo:  Ossip van Duivenbode
Connection of the auditorium with surroundings, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

Looking from the inside, the oval openings on the façade connect the auditorium with surroundings. Looking from the outside, through the building's façade, these openings enable panoramic views of the building’s interior. The stepped bookshelves are represented on the outside, with each level doubling up as a louvre. The spherical auditorium becoming not only main point of the interior but gives to the building façade, dynamic expression.

The oval openings on the façade ,Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode
The oval openings on the façade ,Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

This strong inside/outside connection granted the building the special quality and unique appearance.

The Multifunctional Space

The bookshelves in addition to the basic functions offer an opportunity for sitting, standing, walking along them or allow access to upper floors (act as stairs). These possibilities stimulate visitors to use the space in different ways: for reading, thinking, interaction with others (meeting, discussing) or observe others doing the same.

The auditorium as multifunctional space, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo:  Ossip van Duivenbode
The auditorium as multifunctional space, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

This way the whole auditorium become not only an education centre but also a social, multifunctional space, located inside of the building.

Functional Organization

The auditorium, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo : Ossip van Duivenbode
The auditorium, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo : Ossip van Duivenbode

Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a librarian seated in front of the luminous sphere.

The five-level building also contains extensive educational facilities, arrayed along the edges of the interior and accessible through the main atrium space. The 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 connected 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 rooftop patios.

The main atrium space and connection with other facilities, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo : Ossip van Duivenbode
The main atrium space and connection with other facilities, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo : Ossip van Duivenbode

The Idea vs the Realization

Changes of the design during construction process are not rare. It happens all over the world. In the case of Tianjin Binhai Library, the changes were caused by the tight schedule. They were performed locally against MVRDV’s advice. The result is that access to the upper bookshelves was not given from rooms placed behind the atrium, as planned in the design. The designers believe that this situation can be solved in future. In the meanwhile, perforated aluminum plates, printed to represent books, were placed on the upper shelves above the atrium. These shelves at the moment have only visual (not functional) role.

Upper bookshelves are fake at the moment, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ; Photo : Ossip van Duivenbode
Upper bookshelves are fake at the moment, Tianjin Binhai Library, MVRDV ;
Photo : Ossip van Duivenbode

Whether in the future will win the actual books or e-books, or the victory is already achieved??