Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A novel facade

I forget where I first stumbled across this picture of Kansas City library.

Isn't it amazing? 

It's actually the frontage of the car park! Local people were asked to help pick highly influential books that represent Kansas City. Those titles were included as “bookbindings” in the innovative design of the parking garage exterior, to inspire people to use the downtown Central Library.

I can't begin to tell you how much I love this - it's like a takeaway made out of colossal chips or covering B&Q with enormous tools... erm... moving on...

While I was looking for more pictures of it, I discovered something similar a lot nearer home.

In 2006, Cardiff residents were asked to vote for their top 100 books to adorn 6m hoardings of the temporary library during a rebuild (left).  

Of course, these are both quite large libraries. I'm not sure you could do much with Britain's smallest library (pictured on the right here). Bless! Then again, I don't think much of their shelving - it's a bit shoddy. Melvil Dewey wouldn't be very impressed.

(American readers - this is the smallest library in the US)

And just wait until I start on library interiors - I found some great pictures but I don't want to throw too much at you at once... you might drool all over my blog!

Meanwhile, some related posts:


  1. Although I love lining my walls with books, I would hate to think of them just as art. They do have another function.

  2. I thought the smallest library in the US belonged to George Bush? I don't think he's finished colouring them in yet though.

    Great pics. Much better than the plastic bookshelf faux books they used to sell in B&Q

  3. I want my house to look like that! :o) It makes me so happy to see Silent Spring one of the books at the Kansas City's exterior. One of my favorite books and an author I look up to.

    Thanks for sharing, Clare!

  4. What a fantastic and clever idea to put book covers on a car park. I'd love to see that over here!

  5. Ooh I did a post with pictures of libraries around the world a while back - can't find it now though. I LOVE the hoardings one, what a good idea!

  6. Thank goodness these great ideas came to fruition before the public services axe was sharpened. Which way to Kansas City?

  7. Dave - Yeah but they look better than a car park!

    Rog - Please tell me you're making that up (not the bit about George Bush - I know that's true!

    Jackee - I hadn't heard of Silent Spring - but have just been reliably informed it is 'seminal'... which is a good thing, right? Must look it up.

    Ellie - Well, my library has its centenary next year - I'll see what I can rustle up with coloured paper and 'tacky-back'!

    Karen - This is why we all need the google 'search this blog' gadget - might try and hunt your down.

    Martin - Go West, young man!

  8. You have just demonstrated once again that there is nothing more appealing to look at than books. (Of course, reading them is pretty nice, too . . .)

  9. The architecturally adventurous Belgians must have done something similar somewhere - now you've intrigued me and I'm going to have to hunt down a Brussels book building. Very fun post, BB. You're an original.

  10. Rainy - Not even puppies?

    Deborah - You're right - there must be more! But I veered off in the direction of interiors before I found 'em - happy to add a bizarre Belgian bibliotheque if you find one!