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14 Marvelous Modern Libraries

Last week we posted WebUrbanist’s list of intricate historic libraries, it’s only fair that we share their roundup of modern libraries too. Books are making the transition from dark wood shelves to clean lines and open spaces. Making room for new technology means making changes in traditional library architecture.

National Library of Belarus

The entire facade of the geometric National Library of Belarus is an LED dispay; during the day, the glass panels glimmer in the sun, and at night, they’re illuminated from within to put on a constantly shifting light show. The library is an incredible 23 stories tall and contains the third largest collection of books in Russian.

Idea Store Whitechapel, London, UK

A traditional library is combined with space for classes inside a diaphanous blue and green glass volume in Adjaye Associates’ Idea Store Whitechapel. The flagship building of a program that aims to push libraries into the 21st century, including the latest digital technology, Idea Store includes a five-story atrium.

Black Diamond at the Royal Library Copenhagen, Denmark

SHL Architects gave Copenhagen an incredible new landmark with the Black Diamond extension to the historic Royal Danish Library. This monolithic design is surprisingly airy and open on the inside, encouraging not just the study of books but also the exploration of new types of media. “We are drawn to these projects for their potential to engage the public and not only to give cultural and social life to their cities and towns but also for their ability to work as a accelerator for learning and knowledge,” says Bjarne Hammer, an SHL founding partner.

Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is housed in an unusual modern structure built in 1963; it’s the largest building in the world reserved just for the preservation of rare writings. Inside, the books are stacked six stories high. The walls are made of translucent marble to let in minimal light, a tactic that preserves the delicate books and papers.

Baton Rouge Downtown Library Concept, Trahan Architects

A controversial $19m proposal may land Baton Rouge a new downtown library designed by Trahan Architects. The project is on hold while the city works out budget concerns. The library draws upward like an extended accordion, and inside, concrete platforms supporting subsequent floors seem to hover in midair. A stairway coils around the inside of the striking glass envelope.

See more marvelously modern libraries at WebUrbanist