10 Gorgeous Libraries with Gardens


Our apologies to the snow-phobic. Winter isn’t over just yet — at least according to that poor, dear groundhog. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream of warmer days and the stack of books we want to read en plein air. Fear not: we have prepared a selection of gorgeous libraries with gardens to inspire you — which totally beats clinging to your SAD sun lamp.

“A garden ramp offers another escape route to the outside, leading upwards to a summer bar, the culminating point of the architectural promenade. The garden extends the indoor walkway, getting closer to the line of the horizon; the town disappears, leaving just the crown of plane trees to dialogue with the sky. New uses become possible: people can take a nap, picnic, read outside, or gather in a group.”

“Recently, 3rdSpace has installed a modular library for a literature professor who was looking for a space for storing her collection of books in the Oxfordshire garden. Measuring 2.5×2.5x5m, the garden library comes in plain black and white design with black thermowood exteriors and white shaded birch plywood interiors. The main part of the unit consists of a post made from solid Douglas fir and a beam system which are secured together using mortise and tenon junctions. One side of the house is covered in glass for the light to come in, and the two other walls include shelves from floor to ceiling for the professor’s book collection.”

“Dubbed Cotia Library Garden, this project involved the design of a private library for a bibliophile. The aim was to provide the client with a space to store and organize their collection of books. Prior to the construction of the garden library, the books were kept in boxes, out of sight. Now, thanks to the efforts of Brazilian design firm IPEA, the client has a quiet private library in which they can grow their collection and take respite from modern life.”

“‘Being inside feeling like one is outside. I believe that to be a key issue in understanding the interior design being produced today. In times when environmental awareness is growing, and, of course, also the desire to be close to nature,’ explains the architect, who places her design somewhere in between a country villa and a modernist home designed by one of her masters, German architect Mies van der Rohe.Combined with rough stone walls and limestone floors, steel and glass are not present just by chance.”

“The most attractive asset of the complete Backyard Library is probably its open roof, enabling visitors right here to use the creating as an observatory.”

Courtesy CC/Flickr/Spiro Bolos

The Serenity Library skylight Chicago panorama at Harold Washington Library Winter Garden.

“The garden, titled Inside/Out, underscores the library’s aim of offering many of its programs in an outdoor setting – one that offers a parklike destination for the community. And Tanzi said it is ‘unique in its sheer size and its layout,’ which includes areas for displaying sculpture, a secluded spot for meditation, and extensive plantings – 233 varieties of 63 species. The garden has been designated as an arboretum by the American Public Gardens Association.”

“A library, situated within the structural members, maximises the usable floor area, and a ‘hidden’ rooflight at the rear of the space playfully frames an unexpected glimpse of the sky.”

©Antonin Ziegler

“For a bookworm client, Paris-based architect Antonin Ziegler built a freestanding library annex to a country house in Senneville-sur-Fécamp on the northern coast of France. Sited on a cliff above the sea about two and a half hours from Paris, the views are spectacular.”

“The Learning Garden is a small outdoor courtyard surrounded by the Cascade Park Neighborhood Library, all nestled within an existing woodland. The courtyard provides an outdoor gathering space and learning environment for children and parents alike. Seating stones are loosely scattered through the native garden, and a small circular brick seat wall becomes an inviting place for reading a story. Two alternating bands of contrasting stone wind through the garden to the central circle, adjacent to native plantings of ferns and vine maples. A painted wood fence defines the perimeter of the garden, punctuated by a series of translucent light boxes that are backlit by the setting western sun.”