Big Free Library: Public Pavilion Built of 50,000 Stacked Books

lacuna large volume art

Stacked books form the structural columns of this remarkable structure while support beams in between serve as shelves for even more volumes that can be borrowed, all scanned and donated by the Internet Archive. Even the roof is formed of reading material, featuring fluttering book pages suspended from support wires. Like Free Little Libraries, this huge book repository offers its wares to anyone who wants to take a novel to read and (optionally) return, in turn letting each person who interacts with it to permanently shift its shape.

lacuna building structural books

Opening in one month at the Bay Area Book Festival, this temporary building is made to dissolve – the act of removing books from its shelves will change the way it looks and how light passes through its emptying walls. Reading benches in and around its twelve alcoves provide spaces for retreat or interaction.

lacuna structural design diagram

The title of this project, Lacuna, is also an obscure word referring to missing pages or sections of a book. Its creators FLUX Foundation have a great deal of experience building robust but interactive public art and architecture, including large-scale projects for Black Rock City (as part of the Burning Man festival). Over 200,000 books were actually donated by the Internet Archive, but the remaining 150,000 volumes will be saved for future similar projects.

lacuna project sketch

The Book Festival will also feature talks and readings by hundreds of authors as well as other structures and exhibits. More on the design and its inspiration: “Lacuna is a temple to books. Each of the twelve alcoves of Lacuna are formed by pillars created out of stacked books. Connecting these pillars are shelves filled with books. Above, fluttering book pages attached to guy-wires create a thatch-like roof, creating a space in which visitors literally, and figuratively, inhabit the interiority of books and their contents. “