Posted by Karen Wong

July 22, 2019

Back in the day, traditional libraries were collections of books, journals and recorded information. In recent years, libraries have evolved through cultural and economic characteristics. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Centre, millennials in the United States are more likely to have visited a public library than any other adult generation. Why are the millennials the most library-loving generation? The reason behind this finding may be the drastic changes in library design. The modern library is no longer a sanctuary of books. They are now designed into inspirational spaces, serving as a public forum for knowledge sharing.

Here are some of the most innovative libraries across the globe:

Sendai Mediatheque

The Sendai Mediatheque functions as a library and an art gallery. Tokyo Ito & Associates, the architects behind this building had the intent to design a transparent cultural space within the city centre. They emphasised that they didn’t want to be confined by the limitations of modern architecture.

Sendai Mediatheque

Image Courtesy: SHIKENCHIKU-SHA japan architect vol 65

Tianjin Binhai Library

Designed by MVRDV, the objective of the Tianjin Binhai Library was to provide a cultural district in the city that not only functions as an education centre, but as a social space and connector from the park. The library consists of books shelved from floor to ceiling. It features a luminous spherical auditorium that can hold up to a capacity of 110 people. The building consists of lounge areas, reading rooms, meeting rooms and offices. It has attracted more than 1.8 million visitors since its opening in 2017.

Tianjin Binhai Library

Vennesla Library and Culture House

The Vennesla Library and Culture House is a sustainable building designed as a community space. It consists of a library, public meeting spaces, café, and educational facilities. One of the main features is the ceiling, made of 27 prefabricated glulam ribs, enabling the optimal amount of light inside the space. The wooden ribs also serve as furniture when they reach the ground level, acting as bookshelves. The building is made of mostly prefabricated timber elements and conforms to low energy standards.

Vennesla Library and Culture House

Stuttgart City Library

The Stuttgart City Library is built in Mailänder Platz, an area that is anticipated to be the future city centre. With this intent, Yi Architects designed the building with a strong physical presence. The 9-story building takes the form of a cube and is constructed out of grey fair-faced concrete. In the core of the library, there are three central areas, including a meeting room in the basement, a central room and open reading gallery that extends over four floors with bookshelves recede from floor to floor.

Stuttgart City Library

Image Courtesy: Victor Brigola

While preserving the physical collection of information, modern libraries are now making room for digital information to be accessible. Aside from being a gateway to knowledge, libraries will also play an important role in society, representing culture, individuals and communities.

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