When you think libraries your mind probably goes to high, arched ceilings, dusty wooden shelves and row upon row of leather-bound books, a scene that wouldn’t look out of place at Hogwarts or in that creepy castle from Beauty and the Beast.
After all, in an age of Kindles, vlogs and iPads, isn’t the book a bit of a relic of a bygone age? Sure, we all love reading, but before long surely the printed book will go the way of the dinosaur, and talking to people in person.
Well no, hypothetical reader. You are completely and utterly wrong, and I’m going to prove it with these libraries that have clearly travelled backwards in time from the Space Year 3000. Feast your eye-holes on this:
Vennesla Library & Cultural Center
via Helen & Hard
The Vennesla Library and Cultural Center is made up of a library, cafe, meeting places and offices while linking up a community house and learning centre that were already in place. The building is comprised of a series of ribs that create “useable hybrid structures”. The design was intended to help reduce the energy consumption of the library itself and its two connecting buildings, and innovative, high standards of energy saving solutions can be found throughout the building.
Which is all very nice, but here we are far more interested in the fact that it looks like the hangar for an alien rocket ship. If you look at these pictures and don’t immediately think of Star Trek: The Next Generation all it proves is that you haven’t seen Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Really? Did anybody think that we were going to get through this list without talking about something from Japan? The country’s best known exports are robots and an unusually diverse selection of tentacle pornography, if they’re going to build a library you better believe it’s going to be a library of the future.
According the architects their intention was create an atmosphere for books and reading, with everything being in a single quiet and tranquil room that they say “resembles a forest”. From this I can only assume that all the forests in Japan have now been replaced with robot trees, but this forest looks like the programs from Tron had sex with the Matrix and for some inconceivable reason their baby was a library.
The Book Mountain
Picture via MyModernMet
Perhaps the best thing about this library is its name- the Book Mountain. How evocative is that? The Book Mountain is literally a massive glass pyramid filled with books, a job that Anglian Windows must be kicking themselves they didn’t get. Built by MVRDV, this huge structure makes you feel like you’re reading books on a moon base rather than somewhere in Rotterdam.
The Eye Above Prague
Image via http://www.future-systems.com/
All the other designs in this article look like they’re from the future. This one looks like it comes from space. If the Kanazawa Umimirai Library is what happens when Tron has a baby with the Matrix, this library is the offspring of one of the tripods from War of the Worlds and the Blob from the 1958 movie, The Blob.
Unfortunately, it may never exist. The design was the winning submission in a contest to design the new Czech national library. It was the brainchild of Jan Kaplicky, who clearly had a love for dropping alien artefacts into the middle of major cities, as seen with his other famous works the Selfridges Building at the Bullring in Birmingham and the Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Sadly the city council in Prague took an instant dislike to the design, perhaps fearing it would one day come alive and kill them all, and with the death of Kaplicky in 2009, it seems we may never get to read inside the bowels of a giant space slug.
Chris Farnell is a freelance writer who loves to read, especially if it’s within the bowels of a giant space slug.