Dezeen Magazine

MVRDV's Spijkenisse library has become a "proud mountain of books" says Winy Maas

In the first of a series of exclusive movies profiling buildings by Dutch firm MVRDV, architect and studio co-founder Winy Maas looks back at Book Mountain – a library contained within a glass pyramid.

Book Mountain by MVRDV

Completed in 2012 in Spijkenisse, south of Rotterdam, the library contains five floors of bookshelves connected by a trail of staircases, pathways and indoor terraces. These spiral up to the pyramid's apex.

The building's main body is transparent glass, but it also features an opaque base made of red brick.

Book Mountain by MVRDV

In the movie, filmed by MVRDV three years later, Maas says the building has become "like a proud mountain of books".

"The library is composed out of offices and shops and theatres and rentable spaces, and if you stack them on top of each other you get this ziggurat, this kind of mountain," he says.

Book Mountain by MVRDV

He also explains how the building was designed to encouraged visitors to walk through the entire space.

"You can walk from the bottom to the top, and in that way it becomes a public street that brings you from the plaza to the top of the mountain," he says. "In the evening, when thousands of lights illuminate this mountain, you see it as an advertisement for the book and you're eager to go into it."

Book Mountain by MVRDV

Library director Victor Thissen describes the structure as "an iconic building" that frames social interactions.

"The building is extremely multi-functional and that's the exact purpose of a modern library," Thissen says in the film.

Book Mountain by MVRDV

"It's a delight to work here," he continues. "This is what I hear from visitors, that it's a delight to stroll around and be amazed by the environment and possibilities."

Book Mountain by MVRDV

Book Mountain is the first and only completed library by MVRDV, which was founded in 1993 by Maas along with Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries.

Other well-known projects by the Rotterdam-based studio include the Glass Farm shop and office complex and the Markthal in Rotterdam.

Photography is by Daria Scagliola.