10 Libraries Worth Visiting

by | 10. Jul 2014


Tama Art University Library in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Iwan Baan

The library is fighting for its survival. The digital revolution has struck a hard blow to the library’s historic status of being the only place of accumulated knowledge. Luckily, a number of contemporary projects seem determined in wanting to ensure the continued relevance of the library as an institution and societal focal point.

Projects such as OMA’s  Seattle Public Library and COBE+Transform’s  BIBLIOTEKET in Copenhagen have dared to venture beyond the monofunctional program of the traditional library and made it a community center, a place for meetings and events.

Snøhetta’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Dominique Perrault’s  Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris are large-scale landmarks of hardcore geometric form, whereas Toyo Ito has sought to create a fluid spatial experience with a seemingly chaotic grid of arches in his Tama Art University Library in Tokyo.

All in all, the library shouldn’t get pronounced dead just yet.

Seattle Public Library
Seattle, Washington, USA

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto in Tokyo, Japan. Photo courtesy Sou Fujimoto Architects
Musashino Art University Library
Sou Fujimoto
Tokyo, Japan

Bibliotheca Alexandrina by Snøhetta in Alexandria, Egypt. Aerial view. Photo: Ibrahim Nafie Courtesy Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Alexandria, Egypt

Tama Art University Library. Exterior view from the north-east. Photo by Iwan Baan
Tama Art University Library
Toyo Ito & Associates
Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan

The Morgan Library
Renzo Piano
New York, New York, USA

New Library, University of Aberdeen by schmidt hammer lassen architects in Aberdeen, Scotland. Exterior view. Photo courtesy schmidt hammer lassen
New Library, University of Aberdeen
schmidt hammer lassen architects
Aberdeen, Scotland

The Black Diamond
schmidt hammer lassen architects
Copenhagen, Denmark

BIBLIOTEKET / THE LIBRARY by COBE + Transform in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: arcspace
COBE + Transform
Copenhagen, Denmark

Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Dominique Perrault
Paris, France

Lewis Science Library by Gehry Partners, LLP, in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, Photo: Thomas Mayer
Lewis Science Library
Gehry Partners, LLP
Princeton, New Jersey, USA