The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

Central Public Library Branch, Seattle

Central Public Library Branch turns the traditional concept of a library on its head, redefining the institution not only as a place to find books, but as an information store for any form of media. Flexibility is key in its interiors, with no designed rooms or individual spaces.

The Library of El Escorial, Spain

The Library of El Escorial was sanctioned in the 16th Century by Philip II of Spain, who wanted a library that would hold books and manuscripts as well as instruments of scientific learning. Today, the library has an enormous collection of over 40,000 books, and frescoes adorn the ceiling, depicting scenes from classical history that represent what the ancients considered the seven arts.

Tama Art University Library, Tokyo.

The Tama Art University Library is a strikingly modern take on the traditional space. Expansive windows allow a flood of light in, a variety of different stations, including work and reading spaces, can be discerned, and the architecture and interior design is a marvel of the imagination.

Tianjin Binhai Library, China.

The Tianjin Binhai Library features a luminous spherical auditorium and floor-to-ceiling, terraced bookcases, functioning as an education centre and a social space where visitors can meet and connect from the park to the cultural district.

Stuttgart City Library, Germany.

The Stuttgart City Library was built in an area thought to be a future city centre, and as such, the architecture was designed to make a stark statement and create a grand physical presence: the building takes the form of a stalwart cube.