Is That A Spaceship?: China's New Beautifully Designed 1.2-Million Book Library

November 15, 2017

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These area bunch of shots and a video of a newly constructed library in the Binhai Cultural District of Tianjin, China. Its sprawling shelves can hold up to 1.2-million books, and center around a reflective, spherical auditorium. Oh -- and for the record: the books above eye-level are actually decals and not real books, presumably because if the book you wanted was on the top shelf you would 100% die trying to reach it.

the five-story library, which was designed by Dutch design firm MVRDV in collaboration with the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) and has since been dubbed "The Eye of Binhai", covers 34,000 square metres [ ~366,000-square feet] can hold up to 1.2 million books. Taking just three years to complete, the library features a reading area on the ground floor, lounge areas in the middle sections and offices, meeting spaces, and computer/audio rooms at the top.

You know what my favorite thing about my local library is? The restroom. It's clean, and it's quiet -- two things I look for in a bathroom. If it just had one of those novelty condom vending machines it would easily be in my top ten bathrooms of all time. And I have visited a LOT of bathrooms. Sometimes I'll accept a friend's invitation to come hang out just so I can scope out their bathroom. Plus take one of every kind of pill in their medicine cabinet, because it's important to walk a mile in a friend's shoes to better understand them.

Keep going for a bunch more pics and brief video tour.

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Thanks to JRob, who informed me the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, has "more than 150 million items on over 800 miles of bookshelves. These items include over 34 million books, over 3 million recordings, over 13 million photographs, over 5 million maps, over 6 million pieces of sheet music and over 66 million manuscripts." Wow, that's a whole lifetime of media.

  • The_Wretched

    All those shelves have recessed lighting. PITA changing all the bulbs.

  • Darren McCoy

    Now i know how Bell felt in Beauty & the Beast.

  • kodama

    Something poetic about China having a library in which you can't read most of the "books."

  • Frédéric Purenne

    That's not a library, it's monument. There is barely any books for the size of the place... A spectacularly beautiful monument though.

  • Big Dog on Krampus

    Samwell Tarly would cream his doublet

  • Doog

    I really don't think the fake book decals are necessary. I think it'd potentially be even cooler looking without them.

  • Chris Martin

    I had to rewatch after reading this. I was wondering how the heck they'd get to the books on the top!

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