Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This is Book Mountain, a public library in the town of Spijkenisse -- a suburb of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The architecture firm MVRDV designed the structure, which is a glass-enclosed stepped pyramid about seven stories high.

Inside the pyramid is a gigantic five-story library shaped like a long rectangle. Ramps lead from one level to the next, while a cafe is atop the highest level. Inside the "Book Mountain" are offices, community meeting rooms, and a computer center.

The floors of Book Mountain are brick, with a heating system underneath them to provide warmth in winter. The glass roof of Book Mountain has special glazing which prevent ultraviolet rays from damaging the books inside. The double-glazed roof also has a polarizing feature that allows the panes to become opaque in summer, helping to keep the building cool.

The "mountain" inside the structure is also made of brick, like the floors. The shelves are double-high: Lower shelves provide books accessible by patrons, which the upper shelves which cannot be reached are used for storing archival material, reference works, and the like.

Book Mountain was built as part of a public housing development. With illiteracy among the poor as high as 10 percent, the city decided that connecting poor residents with the tools they need to improve their lives -- books, magazines, newspapers, a technology center, free meeting space -- was the only way to combat poverty.

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