Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Mexico City is gigantic. The gorgeous structure, which covers 38,000 square meters (that's over 400,000 square feet), holds more than 470,000 books.

Designed by Alberto Kalach, the "megalibrary" features transparent walls, hive-like bookshelves, and mismatched floors. Visitors can take in a massive white whale skeleton covered in graphite rings by artist Gabriel Orozco. Outside, there's a garden boasting lush flowers and greenery.

The giant library, which took three years to build, is actually five libraries melded into one, with each section dedicated to some of Mexico's greatest thinkers: Ali Chumacero, Carlos Monsiváis, José Luis Martínez, Jaime García Terrés, and Antonio Castro Leal. The concept for each library was developed by a different design team, who were asked to pay homage to the materials the specific space contains.

It's hard not to feel miniscule when walking through this unusual, massive structure. Visiting Mexico City? You may want to devote several hours—or even a full day, if you can—to browsing its vast collection.

Photo credits: Sergio Dávila

Photo credits: Ellen Forsyth

Photo credits: Ellen Forsyth

Photo credits: Mark Hogan

Photo credits: Mark Hogan