While it may seem like iPads and Kindles are taking over the world, there are plenty of us who still love getting lost between the pages of books. Even in today’s digital world, libraries remain a fantastic resource for education, inspiration, and the imagination, and they are an important part of our culture. While we know the books held within are really what deserve our attention, we also know that a beautiful space can really add to the experience of getting lost in a book. Keep reading for seven of our favorite modern libraries located around the world. They’re even eco-friendly, to boot.
This beautiful modern library in Southark, London hits all the right notes. With a light-filled interior, rich material palette, and a spectacular green roof, the Canada Water Library was designed to be “the library of the future." CZWG Architects
formed the building as an inverted shape to not only increase the overall square footage on the compact site, but to create a sheltered plaza at ground level for the community to enjoy.
Walmart is notorious for invading towns and claiming city space as their own. This time, a town in Texas turns the table on the superstore, reclaiming one of the giant’s former sites and transforming it into a new library. The cavernous, warehouse-like building was completely gutted and reconfigured to make way for a design by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle
featuring bookshelves, reading nooks, a computer lab, conference rooms, a copy center and even an auditorium. The new library is a massive 124,500 squarefoot structure—roughly 2.5 football fields—making it the biggest single-story library in the country.
The Francis Gregory Library
in Washington DC is certainly one-of-a-kind. Built at the edge of Washington, DC’s Fort Davis Park, where a Civil War-era fort once stood, the modern library melds well with its surrounding landscape of lush and leafy trees. Plenty of windows and perforations on the facade provide for an interesting play of light on the interior, and passive solar heating and a large canopy help control sun exposure. The two-story LEED Silver library provides reading materials and activities for children, teens and adults.
Shipping container constructions are on the rise and it’s no wonder—they are easily portable, inexpensive and sturdy constructions that can be arranged and re-arranged to house just about anything. The Contertainer is a poly-clinic and public library designed by Indonesian firm, dpavilion architects
. The architects reclaimed several containers to form a colorful health clinic and public library for the community. The name Contertainer is an amalgam of two words: container and entertainer, which reflects its goal of providing a better quality of living for those who have little money.
After an extensive renovation, Enfield re-opened the doors of their town library to much fanfare. Designed by Shepheard Epstein Hunter
, much of the original 1912 building was kept intact but the architects added a glass building right next to it. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in plenty of light while providing views to the library’s new green. With geothermal energy used to heat and cool the interior, and a number of other green initiatives in place, this eco-savvy design has achieved a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’.
The glass-domed Grand Reading Room at the University of Chicago is a perfect escape for students looking for a quiet and bright place to study. The building was designed by Helmut Jahn as a large egg-shaped glass dome enclosing a 8,000 square foot reading room. Most impressively, the library features an underground automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) capable of storing 3.5 million books.