Room to Read in a Digital World: 14 Modern Library Designs

Vennesla Library by Helen & Hard

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The ceiling ribs of the Vennesla Library in Norway stretch down the walls to become sinuous built-in bookcases, furniture and storage for technical devices. Each consists of a glue-laminated timber beam and column and CNC-routered plywood boards as well as acoustic absorbents and bent-glass lighting panes.

Stadium-Like Dalian Library Design

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From the outside, the sweeping curvilinear shape of this building envisioned for China call to mind an Olympic stadium more so than a library, but maybe it’s about time we gave reading as much attention as we do sports. Submitted as a proposal for the new Dalian Library by 10Design, the library is “intended by be a transformative environment that pulls visitors into a unique landscape. The building weaves into the ground creating a series of courtyards and topographic undulations – rooting itself, and then sweeping up into the air forming a bold urban landmark.”

Helsinki Central Library by OODA

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This library by OODA aims to be a lot more than just a place to store books, offering a stepped exterior that visitors can climb like a hill to look out onto the city. Combining various social functions, the facility aims to become an urban hub, luring people in with cafes, lookout points and art exhibits.

BMVR Library in Caen by OMA

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OMA’s competition-winning design for the new library in Caen, France aims to “concretize the role of books in a digital world” with an x-shaped structure full of glazed reading rooms with panoramic views of the city. The library contains 150,000 books separated into sections in each of the building’s four wings.