WHERE: Mexico City, Mexico
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to the Central Library in the National Autonomous University of Mexico, you’ll want to make an exception. Adorning all four corners of the 10-floor building’s exterior is a kaleidoscopic stone mural that earned the campus World Heritage status. Designed by Juan O’Gorman, the Mexican artist of Irish descent’s aim was to tell the tale of the nation’s historical epochs: the north wall represents the pre-Hispanic period, the south, the colonial period; the east, the modern era; and the west, the university’s history. Inside, its open shelves house more than 400,000 general and historical collections in paper and electronic format, as well as printed volumes dating back to the 1800s. UNAM has Mexico’s largest library budget for serials, monographs, and electronic resources.