Libraries are a pinnacle of knowledge. Their value is often underestimated in the modern world, but libraries hold a special place in most of our hearts. Not only are they the book lover’s paradise, but a place where one can find answers, gain knowledge and get a smidge of nostalgia from when libraries were a huge part of life.
Even in the era of e books, hard copy books have emerged victorious as noted by several studies. This is because the impact of literature and libraries is rather notable. Libraries in particular, are places that hold so much knowledge and wit in one place that one can’t possibly fathom. A huge part to learning, no matter where or what, is the environment that one learns in. The visual and atmospheric component is rather crucial and has the power to make and break the way you learn.
This approach has been recognised and utilized by a lot of educational institutions around the world. Libraries too have embraced this concept head on by opting for architecture that doesn’t simply serve the purpose but goes out of the way to make the place seem unique and a literal landmark.
Certain libraries across the world have been able to hit this brief right and have become rather famous for their architectural appeal. Here’s a look at some of them :
National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague
Something straight out of a fairytale, the National Library of Czech Republic located in Prague is a picturesque place. The architecture of the library has been rather a hit amongst tourists and even on social media platforms.
The Baroque library in particular which is a part of this complex has been appreciated for its architecture. Built in 1722, the library has since been preserved just as it is to maintain its charm. The architecture follows a very romanesque look. The place has a rather ornate and gilded vibe about it taking cues from the elaborate and poetic roman architecture.
The ceiling has been elaborately crafted with carved patterns and scallop ends running along the periphery. The actual ceiling wall has hand painted depictions of roman art alongside triangular skylights on the side to bring in natural light. Bold wooden pillars and metallic railings have been meddled with the design keeping up the royal and poetic look of the place.
The overall color scheme dips in the creams and brown with bold golden accents around different elements that highlight it. The library also has rather beautiful loveseats created by the window for people to sit and read in comfortably.
The overall inspiration for the design was the world and the sciences which is why the architect also chose to instill several rustic toned globes throughout the library to reiterate the message. The architecture is nothing short of a wonder, straight out of a story book and rather unmissable!
National library of China, Beijing
The third largest library of the world, housing millions of books, the National Library of China is a modern take on library architecture that captures the spirit of progress just right. A perfect blend of Chinese traditional architecture values and modernity, the library is a sight to behold.
The overall architecture follows a landscape format. Different floors of the library encase each other in cascading levels. Each level towers over the other with overhanging eaves, a feature drawn from traditional Chinese architecture. Keeping with the simplistic modernity of the design, each balcony of levels is made of cascading wooden facades.
Wooden balconies and benches sit alongside ceiling to floor tinted glass windows that bring in natural light while ensuring the brooks are well preserved. The two levels match the architectural outlook to the idea behind the structure. The lower level has been crafted to house the historic reference library and has a simple reading room in its midst.
Upon it is the upper level, meant to signify progress and technological evolution. The upper floor houses the digital library for which the reading space has been set up along a peripheral balcony overlooking the lower floor.
The ceiling has been kept transparent using glass as an elaborate way to bring natural light along with a metal grid running across it. The library signifies amalgamation of the old and new in a rather beautiful manner making it a must see.
Qatar National Library, Doha
The Qatar National library situated in Doha is a gem of a design, quite literally. At a glance the building's structure resonates with the shape of a diamond shining in all its glory. The library which houses millions of books with the build to allow thousands of readers to enjoy the facilities of the library comfortably.
Decoding its architecture, the vision behind the structure was to create a library that has such a magnetic demeanour that it attracts the population to read in the library. The inside of the library is not divided into sections or a lot of floors, rather been envisioned as one big room zoned through placement of architecture and book shelves.
The building’s structure is such that the hall is lifted from the corners creating a triangular shape with an entrance at the center. The triangular slants hold the bookshelves which have been blended with the architecture, being made with the same material as the flooring.
Under the ground floor is a basement which has been witfully planned. It is made to be visibly accessible from the ground floor as well with balconies running around its periphery.
The lower level houses archives and old books so it has been constructed to convey the sight of an excavation to historical goods. The overall design is not just stunning but pays a lot of attention to detail and concept making it a worthy landmark.
The New Library of Alexandria, Egypt
The New Library of Alexandria is one stunning modern marvel. Located along the shore of the Mediterranean sea, the building has a scenic and serene backdrop. At the very first look, the building looks like a cascading vision of metal rising from the water. The structure of the building is low rise and rather unique.
The outside of the building has a silver metal facade that gives it an edgy and modern look. The disc shaped structure lines with the shore while rising towards the other side in an elliptical shape. Since the library is a rendition of an older library with a similar name that burned down, the architecture has the concept of the library rising from the ashes to its rising shape.
Instead of windows, the building has triangular skylights in an alternating grid pattern to bring natural light into the premises. The skylights are tactfully placed to protect the books yet utilize the sunlight effectively. The library has been made as one big holistic room divided into smaller levels in a cascading manner.
The entire interior combines metal, wooden decals and neutral colors developing a simplistic non disruptive learning environment. As the sun sets, the library lights up revealing the instrictial triangular pattern of its facade rather beautifully.
The New Library of Alexandria a wondrous structure with architecture that deserves a round of applause!
The New Library of Birmingham, Birmingham
The New Library of Birmingham is a radiating beauty of a library. Taking cues from the industrial past of the region, the library’ exterior showcases traces of industrial design materials in a rather fine way.
The building’s structure has been designed in a stacking manner with different sizes of rectangular forms stacked ontop of each other from large to small. The entire facade is made of tinted reflective glass as a way to bring in natural light while also paying homage to industrial design.
Atop the glass is another layer of metal facade. The metal facade is unlike any other with metallic tones interlocking rings running in a radial pattern across all sides of the structure. Smaller silver rings and bigger black metal rings have been put together to create an intricate and rather stunning design. Upon looking inside, these rings cast a beautiful shadow of light.
The inside has a radial outlook to structure. Each of the floors radially cascades the other with a circular skylight right in the center of the roof enlightening the palace. Pairing a classic light wooden flooring with ceramics, natural stone, glass and metal, the library’s interior looks nothing short of a modern day wonder. The New Library of Birmingham is one of it’s kind and rather stellar!