Libraries were once a silent sanctuary of books assembled in temples to preserve the knowledge they contained. But thanks to the new era and technology, Libraries today are not only filled with beautiful shelves of books but also with dynamic tools and spaces, from multipurpose halls to podcast recording studios, workshops to gaming rooms. Libraries are built with unique architecture, innovative designs,  open spaces to encourage visitors to look into racks, interact with other readers, and explore their creative sides turning libraries into social spheres. Libraries are trailblazing institutions that enrich minds, spread knowledge among the masses, and set examples for future generations.  

Let’s look at the World’s Best 10 Innovative Libraries which are visually stunning with modern designs and marvelous architectural details that make reading more fun and enjoyable. 

1. Calgary’s Central Library, Calgary

Calgary’s most antici[ated Project, the New Central Library is designed by Norwegian Architecture firm Snohetta and Canadian firm Dialog, taking inspiration from Alberta’s arch-shaped Chinook cloud formations. The dynamic triple-glazed facade includes interlocking hexagonal patterns, allowing every side of the building to hold equal importance and function as the “front” of the building. Inside the Library is created entirely of planks of western red cedar allowing the flowing forms to merge nature with modern design.

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Calgary central Library _©https://www.archdaily.com/

The library functions on a spectrum of “Fun to Serious” public playful activities on lower floors, including children’s library and early literary programs on the ground floor, gradually transitioning to quieter study areas on the upper floors. Throughout six floors, the library features a variety of spaces offering digital, analog, group, and individual interactions. 

Calgary’s Central Library hailed as an “ architectural masterpiece” was named in the 2019 list of great places by Times Magazine.  

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Calgary central Library_©Neil Zeller
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Calgary central Library_©https://crackmacs.ca/

2. Stuttgart City Library, Stuttgart,  Germany

Stuttgart City Library was designed by German based YI architects following a minimalist approach towards designing the nine-story library with an open floor multi-floor reading room shaped like an upside-down pyramid taking inspiration from Ancient Pantheon Rome. The library features crisp lines and stunning white-on-white color schemes creay=ting a relaxed and dreamy atmosphere for the readers. This cube-shaped library is surrounded by shells of books arranged in a spiraling series of staircases flooded with natural light from the glass roof.  

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Stuttgart City library_©https://www.archdaily.com/
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Stuttgart City library_©https://makohler.com/
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Stuttgart City library_©https://makohler.com/

3. Helsinki Central Library Oodi, Finland

Oodi the Central Library, designed functionally and aesthetically as the project public space created by local firm ALA Architects. The library is organized into three different and stylized floors, each with its dedicated atmosphere. The ground floor is an active and transformative space with a spacious lobby, cafes, cinemas, a multipurpose hall, etc. the top floor is the book heaven fuses the traditional library mood with modern services, and the enclosed middle floor offer facilities such as makerspace, workshops, and recording studios. 

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Central Library Oodi,_© https://www.wikidata.org/

The library building is constructed using local materials keeping local conditions in mind. 

The timber facade is clad with Finnish spruce wrapped across complex curved surfaces,  

developed using parametric computer software. Oodi is a modern take on library design using online services and book sorting robots offering a new exciting cultural space for the people of Finland. 

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Helsinki Central librray_© Tuomas Uusheimo
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Helsinki Central librray_© Tuomas Uusheimo

4. Tianjin Binhai Library, China

Designed by Dutch firm MVRDV in collaboration with TUPDI ( Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute), this unique, futuristic five-story library has a modern flair with an all-white design and terraced shelving that attracts visitor’s attention and has been entitled as the most beautiful library in China. The rectangular building is designed with metal framed exterior walls and has a gigantic oval space in the center, which can be seen from outside has been nicknamed as “ The Eye of Binhai”. 

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Tianjin Binhai library,_©Design House’s magazine

 

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Tianjin Binhai library,_©https://www.archdaily.com/
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Tianjin Binhai library,_©https://www.archdaily.com/

5. Bibliotheca Alexandria,  Egypt

This unique library pays homage to its namesake, the Royal Library of Alexandria, which was destroyed in a fire nearly 2000 years ago. Located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, this modern building designed by Snohetta Architects tilted at an angle as if it emerged from the ashes of its biblio-ancestor. The building aims to recapture the spirit of openness and scholarship of the ancient world’s largest library that housed the collection of thousands of books and manuscripts of its time. The New Library includes four art galleries, a planetarium, 13 academic research centers, and a manuscript restoration laboratory. 

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Alexandria of Egypt_©FRÉDÉRIC SOLTAN
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Bibliotheca Alexandria, ©https://arquitecturaviva.com/
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view fro the top, ©https://uil.unesco.org/

6. Deichmann Bjørvika – Oslo Public Library, Norway

Deichman Bjørvika library has been named as the world’s best new Public Library 2021 by IFLA( International Federation of Library Association). The Library is situated in Oslo Harbour between Central Station and Oslo’s Opera House, designed by Atelier Oslo and Lundhagem. The building was aimed to create flexible space for people breaking the monotony of Traditional library designs. The library is spread across six storeys dedicated to different kinds of learning. 

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Oslo public Library _©https://upload.wikimedia.org/

The underground floor houses cinemas and auditoriums for larger audiences. The first floor contains fiction and children’s books, while the second and third floor is home to several enclosed areas that include recording studios, workshops,  and gaming rooms. The upper floors biomes quieter and peaceful with reading rooms, study rooms, as well as the Future Library Art Project. The building is applauded for its spectacular design, housing modern technological solutions, environmental awareness with architectural flair. 

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top floor_©Einar Aslaksen
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Deichman Bjørvika _©Einar Aslaksen

7. Philology Library,  Berlin, Germany

The Philology Library was designed by Foster and Partners for the Faculty of Philology, at the Free University, Berlin, and has been applauded for its eco-intelligent structure. The building is the culmination of decades of research and experimentation with how buildings can utilize passive and active technologies to increase energy efficiency. The library design includes an aerodynamic water drop-shaped enclosure to house maximum floor area and allow for landscaped courtyards on either side of the library. A double-layered canopy wraps all the five floors of the building in a unique cranial form that earned the library the nickname ”the Berlin Brain”. 

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top view_©Nigel Young / Foster + Partners, Rudi Meisel
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Berlin Brain_© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners, Rudi Meisel
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inside the library_© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners, Rudi Meisel

8. Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Mexico

This impressive 820-foot building designed by Alberta Kalach lies within a botanical garden that was once a barren land of Mexico City. Transparent walls, mismatched floors, scaffold-like shelving, and a futuristic appeal create the Matrix Mobile effect. Opened in 2006 named after José Vasconcelos, former president of the National Library of Mexico. This mega library acts as a gallery of artists to display their work and is surrounded by 6 ½ acres of lush gardens. 

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Biblioteca Vasconcelos_© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre,
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Biblioteca Vasconcelos_© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre
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Biblioteca Vasconcelos Greenhouse_© Aaron Schmidt

9. Light ocean and people at Seashore Library, Qinhuangdao, China

Designed with a very unique and different concept by vector architects in China, the Seashore Library on a secluded beach attracts a lot of visitors for its harmony of design and nature. The building is designed to look like a weathered rock pure and solid from the outside, coating a rich feeling from inside. Each room in the library offers a special connection with the ocean permitting different amounts of lights, wind, and sound. All bookcases and chairs have been installed in tiers to eliminate any interruption to the view from any structural component. 

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Seashore Library__©https://www.archdaily.com/
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terraced seating gives everyone a view of the ocean_© https://i.pinimg.com/
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lower level glass walls open to connect interior and exterior_©https://arquitecturaviva.com/

10. Joan MArgall Library, Barcelona,  Spain

Joan Margall Library was designed by BCQ Architecture, Barcelona. The motto with which the project was presented in the competitions was “ Garden of Light”. These two words sum up the whole idea of the project i.e maintaining and improving the existing garden while providing well-lit spaces. The library inserts under the garden of Florida Villa under the shade of its tree offering unique and personal; used spaces for each user. Inside the interiors are designed easily with little textures, floors, and furniture all clad in white, and structural walls are coated with honeycomb clay blocks that provide silence, thermal comfort, and warmth reminding us that it is half-buries building carved into the earth. 

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Joan Maragall Library_©Ariel Ramírez
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Joan Maragall Library_©Ariel Ramírez
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Joan Maragall Library_©Ariel Ramírez
Author

Jahanavi Arora is an Architect by profession with a passion for writing, design & decor. She believes that writing and architecture are quite similar as they both are forms of art and beyond every building, there is a story to tell which she loves to explore. In her spare time, she would be found in the corner of her room reading, playing around with her 3-year-old boy, or grooving on her favorite music.

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