Book Mountain, by MVRDV

Book Mountain

In a community with 10 percent illiteracy, the Book Mountain library in Spijkenisse, Netherlands, is designed as an advert for reading. The books within are visible from all sides of the glass dome library (officially opened today), especially from the adjacent market square where it appears as one big book mountain. Damage to the books by sunlight is off-set by their normal 4 year life-span due to wear and tear from borrowing.

Book Mountain

Book Mountain

Besides the library, the building houses an environmental education centre, auditorium, meeting rooms, commercial offices, retail, and a chess club. The exterior of the building refers in shape and materials to the traditional Dutch farm, a reminder of the towns agricultural past.

Book Mountain
Above photo by Frank Dinger

Book Mountain

The book platforms are connected via wide stairs and form a continuous route of 480 metres to the mountains peak where a café (below) gives panoramic views over the town.

Book Mountain

Book Mountain

Book Mountain

Another reference to the towns agricultural past lies in the libraries bookshelves. Made of recycled flowerpots, they are simultaneously fireproof and economic, and accompany the visitors through the building by taking on the functions of banister, parapet, information desk and bar. Bookshelves out of reach house the library archive.

Book Mountain

Book Mountain

Book Mountain

Book Mountain

Book Mountain

Total budget incl. parking: 30 million (I’m guessing euros)
Start project: 2003
Start construction: May 2009
Opening: October 2012
Amount of books: 70,000 with space for another 80,000.

Information from the MVRDV website. Photography by Jonas Klock and Jeroen Musch. Via Dezeen.

My kind of library.

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8 comments

  1. Very cool design. I was disappointed there was only the one photo from outside and that one was poor. I’d like to see it in the daylight as well.

  2. Awesome design – very inspiring. I love the transparency of it all and the fact the exterior matches the inner shelving. Thanks for sharing David. Beats Waterstones…

  3. If they had food there, I’d probably never leave. I wish I had a library this cool where I live. I love how they stacked the books, it reminds me of a gigantic house of cards.

  4. I’ve added an external shot in daylight, Chris. Looks the part.

    Mark, definitely. How’s business?

  5. Thanks for that David. I hardly recognize it as the same place (must be the opposite side of the night shot?) From the description I thought you would be able to see through the windows better, maybe it’s the angle or the camera. Neat place, either way.

  6. meredith

    last time I was in the Netherlands the thing that made the greatest impression on me was the boldness of the redlight district and cannabis “coffee shops”. Gotta go see this to replace those images in my mind. (or at least dim them…lol) Guess Spijkenisse is a lot different from Amsterdam!

  7. How cool! This library is in my hometown! Funny to see it on your blog.

    As a graphic designer I very much enjoy reading your blog so thanks for that David!

  8. Definitely the opposite side, Chris. Meredith, did you get to see much of Amsterdam? I’ve only been the once, but remember some brilliant walks along the canal banks. Erik, you’re more than welcome. Cheers for reading.

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