Architect: Toyo Ito
Location: Hachioji City, Tokyo, Japan
Year built: 2004
This is a library for an art university located in the suburbs of Tokyo. Passing through the main entrance gate, the site lies behind a front garden with small and large trees, and stretches up a gentle slope. The existing cafeteria was the sole place in the university shared by both students and staff members across all disciplines, so the first impetus for our design was to question how an institution as specialised as a library could provide an open commonality for all. Our first idea was for a wide open gallery on the ground level that would serve as an active thoroughfare for people crossing the campus, even without intending to go to the library. o let the flows and views of these people freely penetrate the building, we began to think of a structure of randomly placed arches which would create the sensation as if the sloping floor and the front garden’s scenery were continuing within the building. The characteristic arches are made out of steel plates covered with concrete. In plan these arches are arranged along curved lines which cross at several points.
The new library is a place where everyone can discover their style of “interacting” with books and film media as if they were walking through a forest or in a cave; a new place of arcade-like spaces where soft mutual relations form by simply passing through; a focal centre where a new sense of creativity begins to spread throughout the art university’s campus.