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Books as Bricks: Amazing Architecture Made From Literature

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It's official: architecture from boring old bricks is totally passé. First there was the architect known for his functional cardboard structures, then there was the house made from plastic bottles, the abode constructed with car parts, the coffee shop made from shipping containers, and some pretty awesome ice architecture. And, of course, there's the unforgettable woman who makes castles out of human hair. But never fear, today's strange-building-material news is something much less gross and much more awesome. These last few years, artists and architects have been using books to create some mindblowing structures, and topping the list of striking tome towers is this aptly named Book Mountain (above), unveiled by Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV just last week. Architecture buffs and book lovers alike were immediately smitten with the project, a library for the small town of Spijkenisse in the Netherlands. With an eye-popping 100,000 square feet and a reading room and cafe at the pinnacle of the 150,000-book heap, it seems that every "ooh" and "aah" is actually pretty well-deserved.

? Ever get lost in a good book? Ever get lost in 250,000 books? Well, some of those lucky people who got to go to the London Olympics probably have. Concurrent with the summer games, Brazilian artists Marco Saboya and Gualter Pupo designed and installed this book labyrinth as part of the city's "Cultural Olympiad." According to Inhabitat, the project took four days and more than 50 volunteers to assemble. The maze's carefully cultivated walls, which at certain points stood taller than eight feet, enveloped visitors with a cacophony of color, texture, and philosophy, forming a glorious snarl of literature that would bring tears to the eyes of some weak-kneed English majors.

? Spanish artist Alicia Martin used some 5,000 books for this installation at the Casa de America building in Madrid, Spain. By building a tumultuous tumble of literature, Martin effectively transformed the pieces of paper into physically iteration of the chaos and movement that's unlocked when the pages are read.

? Slovakian-born artist Matej Kren also uses books as bricks. This sweet fort art installation, made in 2010 for the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna, Italy, is Kren's attempt to complicate and distort reality using familiar materials.

? In 2010, architect-slash-artist Rodney LaTourelle decided he would stack books, infest them with mushrooms, and allow the world to watch them rot. OK, fine, it's a little more poetic than that. The idea is to allow the books, symbols of human intellectuality, slowly become part of the natural world. Two years later, the mushrooms are thriving and the books are—well, the books have seen better days. But that's the point, right?

· Book Mountain + Library Quarter [DesignBoom via Gizmodo]
· A Labyrinth of 250,000 Books Unveiled in London [Inhabitat]
· 5,000 Books Pour Out of a Building in Spain [My Modern Met]
· Mind-Blowing Building Built From Thousands of Books [Inhabitat]
· Jardin de la Connaissanc by Rodney LaTourelle [Dezeen]
· Home Goods and Architecture Made From Bizarre Materials. [Curbed National]