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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.