MVRDV’s Library in China

Book Cave


In the port city of Tianjin (population 15.47 million), the Dutch firm MVRDV recently completed an immense library with a huge inner eye that can be glimpsed from the street and which, being so spectacularly disturbing, reminds one of the eye of Suaron, the main antagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Such a comparison is unlikely to bother the ever fun Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries, though they have preferred to use a more trite metaphor: that of the cave-building. Most striking about the ‘cave’ are the shelves with curved sections, which have a powerful enveloping effect, even though it ultimately depends on a fake: the books on the uppermost shelves are stickers.

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