When it comes to the sheer numbers game, a gargantuan academic complex in Tehran impresses with its astronomical 700,000 sq ft area. Just to put things into perspective, this massive indoor space with green-roofing segments is equivalent to the size of more than 12 American football fields. Aptly christened as the Book Garden, the spatial achievement is possibly the world’s largest bookstore, overtaking the previous record holder – the 154,000 sq ft Barnes & Noble along Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Now in case one is wondering, the entire 700,000 sq ft area is not dedicated to unending shelves of books. Rather the architectural project mirrors a mixed use space, with the complex having a few movie theaters, some science halls, classrooms, a restaurant, and a prayer room. All of these zones are focused on the primary bookstore, with the latter being connected to the green rooftop parks that allow reading in the open. Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said –
The opening of the Book Garden is a big cultural event in the country so that our children can make better use of this cultural and academic opportunity.
Interestingly enough, while the ambitious scope of the Book Garden may seem a bit ‘impulsive’ on the part of the government, the mammoth project was actually pitched way back in 2004. In fact, the construction of the main structure was mostly completed by last year, but the actual obstacle pertained to stocking it up with books. To that end, the Tehran Book Garden will boast more than 400,000 titles for children alone. Furthermore, some of the shelves have been designed to be shorter, thus allowing the younger ones to literally reach out to the books they love.