Libraries are some of the most complete and incredible tributes to human knowledge imaginable, and with their range of resources, they’re invaluable when it comes to studying. However, reading up on a topic of choice needn’t be done in a bland and boring building, as the following institutions demonstrate.
And while it’s the books and facilities that make a library, being in lovely surroundings may provide inspiration and help you to work that little bit harder. Whether they feature sleek, eye-catching architecture or extravagant interiors, the libraries on this list are the most beautiful in the world. Let’s exploce The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World below.
The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World
Strahov Monastery Library, Prague
Built in 1679, the Strahov Monastery Library played an important role in the Czech history and is home to several thousands of prints made between the 16th and 18th centuries. Known for its breathtaking biblical frescoes, the library has two halls: the Theological Hall and the Philosophical Hall, which are all splendidly decorated.
Tianjin Binhai Library, China
Dubbed as “The Eye” due to the sphere in the middle of the library as well as its unique view from the outside that resembles a giant eye, this five level library is designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV and is home to 200,000 books.
There’s just one catch: most of the books are in fact printed images of book spines that fill the top most shelves of the library, making the illusion it is full to the brim.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt
Beneath a striking facade of Aswan granite walls carved with characters from 120 different scripts lies an equally stunning interior, designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina sits on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria, Egypt, next to a large reflecting pool.
A homage to The Great Library of Alexandria once considered one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world, the library and cultural centre has shelf space for eight million books and also houses a conference centre, four museums, four art galleries, 15 permanent exhibitions, a planetarium and a manuscript restoration laboratory.
Tama Art University Library, Japan
The Tama Art University Library in Tokyo, Japan consists of two academic libraries on two campuses, but it is the newer Hachioji Library that has caught most attention for its architecture.
Designed by architecture firm Toyo Ito & Associates, which won the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the Hachioji Library is recognised as an architectural achievement for its concept, which complements its physical location and accommodates the natural sloping surfaces of its landscape. Completed in 2007, its modern design remains timeless, with concrete arches, glass walls, and minimalist furniture.
University of Aberdeen Library – Aberdeen, U.K
The bold, zebra like stripes that adorn the University of Aberdeen’s library building are the work of international Danish architecture firm schmidt hammer lassen. One of its principals, Morten Schmidt, has poetically said of its unique exterior, “[It] will shimmer during the day and glows softly at night,” and he described it as a “beacon” for the Scottish city.
This innovative building won a National Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2013, as well as concurrent recognition from the World Architecture Festival, where it made the shortlist in the Civic and Community division. It became the first major construction to be completed in Aberdeen for 25 years and opened to students and staff in 2011.
National Library of France – Paris, France
The National Library of France has mushroomed in recent years, thanks to an expansion and partial move to newly completed premises in 1996. However, the origins of the institution which now contains an astonishing 30 million items date back to the 14th century and the royal library established at the Louvre by King Charles V. The library relocated to its still operating Rue de Richelieu site in 1868, with major design work carried out by French architects Henri Labrouste and, following his death, Jean Louis Pascal.
Here, the circular reading rooms are elegance itself, with the Salle de Travail featuring nine domes sitting on columns said to echo Ottoman architecture. There are more than just books to be found there, too: the chess set of the 9th century King Charlemagne is one of the library’s more unique pieces.