“Can you recognize, A building with the foundation of learning, masonry of knowledge, and finishing of harmony and silence?” 

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A Library all lit_©Max Langelott

Yes, you guessed it right! The phrase above is about all that a contextual theme of the architectural design of the library building looks like when we conceptualize the spaces and intricacies associated with it. The library is beyond the functional perspective of a public building. Libraries are the sets and offsets of knowledge, a building of serendipitous actions, a hub of people under silence, and great as an infrastructure to look upon and revisit. Library architecture is beyond stacking books along shelves but providing solutions for the needs of its users. It needs to address the skewed perception of a deep reader to design a distraction-free and high energy environment. 

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Library and its architecture_©Arif Riyanto
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A Library diffused under the books_©Emil Widlund

The expanse of the library building and the aura the space owns is highly dependent on its users and the function it’s supposed to perform. Library architecture is co-dependent on many factors such as site, context, user group, location, surroundings, etc. Library placed in an institutional setup would require to excite and relax the students in general and specifically to the problems of stress and anxiety. Similarly, a library in a city center around heavy traffic would function as a structure that is easy to visually digest compared to the other financial towers while curing the hurry sickness of people moving around it. The space should also justify the demands of a co-authored story of people coming to read. On the same go, a library in the outskirts would demand hipe in the subtle by introducing tech and innovation to challenge the yet relaxed surroundings in the vicinity. 

We have recorded numerous stunning designs of library buildings from across the world from their origin till now. Here are a few of them listed below to cheer your design chords and think differently.

1. Winter Park Library & Events Center | Architecture of Library

Location: United States

The library and cultural center with a park are nothing but a paradise for peace and livelihood. The civic and cultural center of winter park envisages a full-fledged community-empowered atmosphere. It is an extensive revitalization of the park into a community hub with different scales and functions to the park. It has a two-story library building and an area with rooftop terraces and a welcoming portico entrance grasped with greens. The flexibility of design holds extensive floor plates in diversity at the library building and the event center helping cross movement and maximum footprint. 

The fact that the structures in the complex are over the principles of biophilic ideas helps amalgamate nature into architecture. Arches inspired by the local fauna and the region’s vernacular architecture found the structural form of pavilions and rooflines. The library has collection spaces according to all age groups while catering to all genres making a wholesome indoor ability to excite youth and children yet calming the old and making spacing for interaction, technology portals, education, and relaxation under a single roof. The library at the winter park is a collective approach for solitary experiencing and social viability across the neighborhood.

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Winter Park Library & Events Center_©www.archdaily.com

2. Library of Birmingham 

Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom

The rectangular spaces stacked on each other forming terraces came up as an asset to library architecture in Europe at the site between the theater from the 1930s to 1960s building. The metal ring pattern created ties up as an ombre of jewelry quarter with top layer as gold with silver and glass followed by it. The facade shapes the site and surroundings of the location for a high public footprint and gatherings.

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Library of Birmingham_©www.dezeen.com

3. Tianjin Binhai Library 

Location: Tianjin, China

It would be overwhelming for any book lover to visit this library and feel the expanse of undulating shelves housing 1.2 million books under library premises. The idea of creating a monument of books and the space for the quest for knowledge is very well reflected and is celebrated in design with unfettered imagination and the whimsical experience of the library. The building is open and easily accessible to kids’ books where books are in every corner, but ironically there are no corners.

Tianjin Binhai Library_©www.azuremagazine.com

Library architecture is not a building typology to set and replicate for long. It comes with its challenges and design aspects to cover and reflect on its planning and designing. It finds it necessary to keep mobility in reimagining typologies and working for their relevance in the present or future contexts.

4. The Library of Alexandria | Architecture of Library

Location: Alexandria, Egypt

This library sits on the shore of the Mediterranean sea in Egypt. The rebuilding of this stunning library from an ancient building has been nearly 220 million dollars. Earlier it had some historical significance which now is barely left to it. Now the 11-story building is none of its ancient self but a masterpiece of mimicry of the lighthouse of Alexandria with the cylindrical design and Egyptian hieroglyphics showing the essence of Egyptian culture and tradition.

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The New Library of Alexandria_©Snøhetta

References | Architecture of Library

  1. Hart, K., 2017. Artsy. [Online]

Available at: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-8-public-libraries-architectural-wonders

[Accessed 05 2022].

  1. NEWCOMB, T., 2020. Popular Mechanics. [Online]

Available at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/g30446675/beautiful-libraries/

[Accessed 05 2022].

  1. Pintos, P., 2021. Archdaily. [Online]

Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/973686/winter-park-library-and-events-center-adjaye-associates?ad_source=search&ad_medium=projects_tab

[Accessed 05 2022].

  1. Pittman, P., 2018. AZURE. [Online]

Available at: https://www.azuremagazine.com/article/winy-maass-excellent-chinese-adventure/

[Accessed 05 2022].


Rahat Khanna is an architectural student by profession & a serendipitous explorer by a person. She accompanies architecture and writings as a medium to research, evaluate, analyze and contemplate minute details in architectural reign for sustainably intelligent solutions. Her passion for words came from reading books and made her resourceful.