MVRDV's new library features a giant reflective 'eye' at its heart

by Kim Megson | 23 Jun 2016

MVRDV are nearing completion on a reflective “hollowed-out” library in Tianjin, China.

The 34,200sq m (368,000sq ft) building – which has just topped out – is built around a mirrored spherical auditorium which, coupled with the main atrium, forms a giant eye that looks out at passers-by.

Designed with the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), the Tianjin Binhai Library is being constructed as part of a larger plan to provide an arts district for the city.

German architects GMP have masterplanned the Binhai Cultural Centre, which will incorporate the library and four other buildings – designed by an international team including Bernard Tschumi Architects, Bing Thom Architects and HH Design – through a series of ‘cultural corridors.’

The library will display a large collection of books on terraced shelves that echo the sphere throughout the atrium. These lead users up into the heart of the facility, before continuing around the building as louvres. An oval opening to the site is propped open by the reflective eye; “an interior landmark” that enlarges the perceived space within.

“The Eye is the centre of the library,” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. “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. 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.”

The building is estimated to be open to the public in mid-2017.

MVRDV’s recent projects include a transparent kitchen design, a vast public staircase in Rotterdam, and a cultural hub in Beijing with an ever-changing facade.

Speaking last month at the Venice Biennale, Maas called for the end of “vagueness in architecture”, and described his firm’s belief in projects that communicate their intentions “in the most direct and fantastic way.”

Maas and MVRDV's fellow founders Nathalie de Vries and Jacob van Rijs will be interviewed in the next issue of CLADmag.

MVRDV'  library  architecture  Tianjin  China  GMP Architects  Binhai Cultural Centre  Winy Maas 
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MVRDV are nearing completion on a reflective “hollowed-out” library in Tianjin, China. The 34,200sq m (368,000sq ft) building – which has just topped out – is built around a mirrored spherical auditorium which, coupled with the main atrium, forms a giant eye that looks out at passers-by. Designed with the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), the Tianjin Binhai Library is being constructed as part of a larger plan
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The library is built around a mirrored spherical auditorium which forms the building's all-seeing 'eye' / MVRDV
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