The World’s Most Iconic Libraries, Reduced To Their Essential Forms

André Chiote, an architect an illustrator based in Portugal, has sketched museums, sports facilities, and other buildings of note from around the world, but libraries in particular get his blood pumping.

“Libraries are exceptional buildings and reference points in cities since they’re usually distinguished by their architectural quality,” he says. “And there is nothing I like more than a wall with books.” (An aside: it’s fascinating how books aren’t the most important thing in many contemporary libraries.)

His graphic illustrations flatten structures into geometric shapes and are rendered in limited color palettes. When he makes his posters, he zeroes in on a detail that makes a building instantly recognizable, like the dramatic cantilever and arches of the Oscar Niemeyer–designed National Library in Brasília, the faceted silhouette of the Seattle Central Library by OMA, and the sinewy metal panels that cascade down the facade of the Sir Duncan Rice Library in Scotland.

“I work with the collective memory of the buildings and with my personal view to obtain an interesting graphic composition,” he says.

Spy a handful of the posters in the slide show above and head to Chiote’s website to purchase them.

All Images: André Chiote