The world's best libraries look even better as posters

See how architect André Chiote has illustrated buildings by Norman Foster, Oscar Niemeyer, Rem Koolhaas and co
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Ricardo Legorreta's San Antonio library, Texas, as illustrated by André Chiote
Ricardo Legorreta's San Antonio library, Texas, as illustrated by André Chiote

When successful architects are tasked with designing important city or national libraries, they rise to the challenge. These practices, which often spend much of their time on overtly commercial work, seem to come to life when they put their civic-minded hats on.

 

Herzog & de Meuron’s Cottbus library, Germany, as illustrated by André Chiote
Herzog & de Meuron’s Cottbus library, Germany, as illustrated by André Chiote

Illustrator and architect André Chiote spotted this trait and has committed what he’s seen to paper: poster paper that is. He has created stylish graphic representations of libraries by some of the world’s most interesting architects.

 

Josep Llinás’ Vila de Gràcia Library, Barcelona, as illustrated by André Chiote
Josep Llinás’ Vila de Gràcia Library, Barcelona, as illustrated by André Chiote

Buildings by Herzog & de Meuron, Norman Foster, Mecanoo, Oscar Niemeyer and Rem Koolhaas have all been given the Chiote treatment. His technique is to focus on a particular element of each façade, and work up the geometric shapes and the shadows they create through a strong colour palette. 

 

Álvaro Siza’s Municipal Library of Viana do Castelo, Portugal as illustrated by André Chiote
Álvaro Siza’s Municipal Library of Viana do Castelo, Portugal as illustrated by André Chiote

So Koolhaas’s Seattle Public Library is a criss-cross grid in purple and dusty pink, H&de M’s Cottbus Library is a spiral in two greens and cerise, and Alvaro Siza’s building for Viana do Castelo is a simple pale raised block with blue sea and sky behind – one of the most minimal of these renditions.

 

Rem Koolhaas’s Seattle Public Library, as illustrated André Chiote
Rem Koolhaas’s Seattle Public Library, as illustrated André Chiote

Chiote, who lives in Oporto, Portugal, is clearly a big bibliophile. “Libraries,” he says, “are houses of books. And newspapers. And magazines. And music. And movies. The entire world is connected; it's where we are with ourselves and with others. They are our memories and our legacy. The reference of knowledge and leisure but also urbanity. Libraries are the houses where we must always return.”

 

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ Aberdeen University Library, Scotland, as illustrated by André Chiote
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ Aberdeen University Library, Scotland, as illustrated by André Chiote

If there’s not a library near you fear not. Phaidon’s very own library of learning - our store - has enough in it to provide a lifetime of inspiration, learning and sheer pleasure.


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