Eight striking libraries that are bound to impress

Eight striking libraries that are bound to impress

Bibliophiles can take pleasure in looking through Dezeen's pick of the best libraries, including one in the Netherlands that occupies an old locomotive shed, and another in China that resembles an eye.

See below for the full selection:


Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode

Tianjin Binhai Public Library, China, by MVRDV

MVRDV constructed the interiors of this public library in Tianjin to look like a huge eye staring out through the building's glass facade – a spherical auditorium forms the pupil, while staggered floor-to-ceiling shelving creates the curved shape of the socket.

The sinuous bookshelves double up as a place where visitors can sit and read, or observe others across the cavernous room.

Find out more about the Tianjin Binhai Public Library 


Dezeen best libraries roundup: LocHal by Civic Architects
Photo by Stijn Bollaert

LocHal, Netherlands, by Civic Architects

Set inside a former locomotive shed in Tilburg, this library is dominated by towering riveted columns and tall glass windows.

Its vast entrance hall has been arranged much like a city's public square, complete with a coffee kiosk, communal tables, and a broad set of steps where visitors can sit and read or spectate events.

Find out more about LocHal 


Dezeen best libraries roundup: Liyuan Library by Li Xiaodong
Photo by Li Xiaodong

Liyuan Library, China, by Li Xiaodong

The modest Liyuan Library is situated in a small village on the rural outskirts of Beijing, and is designed to be a "setting of quiet contemplation".

Although the building's shell is entirely glazed, hundreds of locally sourced wooden sticks have been layered in front to create inviting interiors that are softly dappled with natural light.

Find out more about the Liyuan Library 


Dezeen best libraries roundup: VAC Library by Farming Architects
Photo by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An

VAC Library, Vietnam, by Farming Architects

A climbing frame forms this children's library in Hanoi, with box seats and bookshelves slotted amongst its grid of wooden beams.

Adjacent to the structure lie a couple of chicken cages and an aquaponic pond filled with koi fish that's intended to help young visitors learn about self-sustaining ecosystems.

Find out more about the VAC Library 


Photo by Michael Grimm

New Central Library, Canada, by Snøhetta and Dialog

Spanning 22,300 square-metres, Calgary's central library was designed as a home for the city's extensive literature collection and a space for large-scale public events.

While the building's white exterior is meant to resemble ice crystals, inside it features a huge eye-shaped atrium that's almost entirely lined with warm-hued slats of hemlock wood.

Find out more about the New Central Library 


Dezeen best libraries roundup: Maya Somaiya Library by Sameep Padora
Photo by Edmund Sumner

Maya Somaiya Library, India, by Sameep Padora

An undulating brick roof arcs over the main reading room of this children's library in Kopargaon, which can hold up to 22,00 books.

The space is illuminated by concertina glazed walls that are slightly set back from the edge of the overhanging roof, providing shade to visiting young readers.

Find out more about the Maya Somaiya Library 


Photo by Jaime Navarro

La Ciudadela, Mexico, by Taller 6A

This library occupies the corridor of an 18th-century building in Mexico City, that was previously a prison, weapons factory, and military headquarters.

Hollow wooden boxes of different sizes have been installed across the walls, ceiling and floor. Whilst the majority are used to store books, a handful are backlit to form eye-catching display niches.

Find out more about La Ciudadela 


Dezeen best libraries roundup: Sissi’s Wonderland by Muxin Studio
Photo by Zhang Daqi

Sissi's Wonderland, China, by Muxin Studio

Designed to be like a "giant toy", this children's library in Shanghai features a series of arched windows and vaulted doorways that lead through to cosy wood-lined reading nooks.

At the centre of the curvilinear space is a small play-area with grass-like carpeting. The ceiling above has been painted black so that when the spotlights are switched on, it appears to be a starry night sky.

Find out more about Sissi's Wonderland