Tianjin Binhai Library

Architecture by MVRDV seen at Tianjin Binhai Vocational College College Library, Binhai Xinqu - Tianjin Binhai Library
Architecture by MVRDV seen at Tianjin Binhai Vocational College College Library, Binhai Xinqu - Tianjin Binhai LibraryArchitecture by MVRDV seen at Tianjin Binhai Vocational College College Library, Binhai Xinqu - Tianjin Binhai LibraryArchitecture by MVRDV seen at Tianjin Binhai Vocational College College Library, Binhai Xinqu - Tianjin Binhai Library
Image credit: Ossip van Duivenbode
MVRDV and Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) have completed Tianjin Binhai Library as part of a larger masterplan to provide a cultural district for the city. The 33,700m2 cultural centre featuring a luminous spherical auditorium and floor-to-ceiling cascading bookcases functions not only as an education centre but as a social space and connector from the park into the cultural district. An oval opening punched through the building is propped open by the Eye, a luminous sphere with an auditorium, which takes the main stage within the atrium and enlarges the perception of space within. Terraced bookshelves which echo the form of the sphere create an interior, topographical, landscape whose contours reach out and wrap around the façade. In this way, the stepped bookshelves within are represented on the outside with each level doubling up as a louvre. The futuristic library sits within a sheltered gallery, topped with cathedral-like vaulted arches, which wind their way through the scheme. MVRDV’s project is surrounded by four other cultural buildings designed by an international team of architects including Bernard Tschumi Architects and Bing Thom Architects. Tianjin Binhai Library is part of German architects GMP’s 120,000m2 masterplan which aims to accentuate the characteristics of the surrounding districts. The complex is intended as a junction point for the CBD, old town, residential districts, commercial areas and the government quarter supplementing missing programmes in each. The library’s outer volume was stipulated in the masterplan thus the Eye and surrounding semi-public area are an internal space, an inverted icon, acting as a central point and folly in the building. “The Eye is the center of the library. 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,” explains MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. “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.” Tianjin Binhai Library is MVRDV’s fastest realized project to date, taking just three years from the first sketch to the opening. The tight construction schedule forced one essential part of the concept to be dropped: access to the upper bookshelves from rooms placed behind the atrium. This change was made locally and against MVRDV’s advice. It rendered access to the upper shelves impossible. The full vision for the Tianjin Library may yet be realised. Until then the upper shelves of the library remain empty - with perforated aluminum plates printed to represent books – a remnant of the original design. The project is MVRDV’s second completed design in Tianjin. TEDA Urban Fabric, completed in 2009, provided 280,000m2 of mixed high and low-rise housing and retail. CREDITs: Architect: MVRDV; Principal in charge: Winy Maas; Partner: Wenchian Shi; Design Team: Maria López Calleja, Kyo Suk Lee, Sen Yang, Marta Pozo, Chi Li, Ray Zhu, Angel Sanchez Navarro, Daehee Suk, Guang Ruey Tan, Xichen Sun, Michael Zhang, Mariya Gyaurova, Winy Maas, Antonio Luca Coco, Constanza Cuccato, Matteo Artico, Tomaso Maschietti; Concept design: Renske van der Stoep, Martine Vledder, Kyo Suk Lee, Gerard Heerink, Chi Li, Francisco Pomares, Nicolas Lee, Claudia Bode, Sharon Ship, Jaap Baselmans, Herman Gaarman, Hui Hsin Liao, Antonio Luca Coco, Constanza Cuccato, Matteo Artico, Tomaso Maschietti; Copyright: MVRDV: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries; Partners: Co-Architect: Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI), Tianjin, China; Lighting designer: Huayi Jianyuan lighting design; Images: Ossip van Duivenbode

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Meet the Creator

"MVRDV was founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. Based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, we have a global scope, providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues in all regions of the world. Our highly collaborative, research-based design method involves clients, stakeholders, and experts from a wide range of fields from early on in the creative process. The results are exemplary, outspoken projects that enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published worldwide and has received numerous international awards. Two hundred and fifty architects, designers and urbanists develop projects in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design process that involves rigorous technical and creative investigation. MVRDV works with BIM and has official in-house BREEAM and LEED assessors.

The products of MVRDV’s unique approach to design vary, ranging from buildings of all types and sizes, to urban plans and visions, numerous publications, installations and exhibitions. Completed projects include the Netherlands Pavilion for the World EXPO 2000 in Hannover; the Market Hall, a combination of housing and retail in Rotterdam; the Pushed Slab, a sustainable office building in Paris’ first eco-district; Flight Forum, an innovative business park in Eindhoven; the Silodam Housing complex in Amsterdam; the Matsudai Cultural Centre in Japan; the Unterföhring office campus near Munich; the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam; the Ypenburg housing and urban plan in The Hague; the Didden Village rooftop housing extension in Rotterdam; the music centre De Effenaar in Eindhoven; the Gyre boutique shopping center in Tokyo; a public library in Spijkenisse; an international bank headquarters in Oslo, Norway; and the iconic Mirador and Celosia housing in Madrid.

Current projects include a public art depot in Rotterdam, the transformation of a mixed-use building in central Paris, mixed-use high-rises in New York and Shenzhen, and a variety of housing projects in the Netherlands, France, China, India, and other countries. MVRDV is also working on large-scale urban masterplans in Bordeaux and Caen, France and the masterplan for an eco-city in Logroño, Spain. Larger scale visions for the future of greater Paris, greater Oslo, and the doubling in size of the Dutch new town Almere are also in development.

Our research-oriented approach is exemplified by The Why Factory, an independent think tank and research institute that we run together with the Delft University of Technology, which provides an agenda for architecture and urbanism by envisioning the city of the future. This research leads us to deal with issues ranging from global sustainability in large-scale studies such as Pig City, to small, pragmatic architectural solutions for devastated areas such as New Orleans.

MVRDV first published a manifesto of its work and ideas in FARMAX (1998), followed by MetaCity/Datatown (1999), Costa Iberica (2000), Regionmaker (2002), 5 Minutes City (2003), KM3 (2005), Spacefighter (2007) and Skycar City (2007), The Vertical Village (with The Why Factory, 2012) and the firm’s first monograph of built works MVRDV Buildings (2013, with an updated edition published in 2015)."

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