Musashino Art University Library
by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Photographer Edmund Sumner has sent us these photographs of a university library in Tokyo by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto that has an exterior of timber shelves covered by planes of glass.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

The massing of the two-storey library at Musashino Art University is composed entirely from the shelves, which will hold the books.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Circulation routes spiral around both ground and first floor between apertures cut-out of the shelving.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

The library also includes a closed archive, which is located in the basement.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

The following information is from Sou Fujimoto:


Musashino Art University Museum and Library

This project is a new library for one of the distinguished art universities in Japan. It involves designing a new library building and refurbishing the existing building into an art gallery, which will ultimately create a new integration of the Library and the Art Gallery.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

The project described hereinafter is the plan of the new library which sits within the first phase of the total development.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Acting as a huge ark, a total of 200,000 units, of which 100,000 will be out in an open-archive, while the other half within closed-archive, rests within this double-storey library of 6,500 ㎡ in floor area.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Library made from bookshelves

When I thought of the elements which compose an ultimate library, they became books, bookshelves, light and the place.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

I imagined a place encircled by a single bookshelf in the form of a spiral. The domain encased within the infinite spiral itself is the library. Infinite forest of books is created from layering of 9m high walls punctuated by large apertures.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

This spiral sequence of the bookshelf continues to eventually wrap the periphery of the site as the external wall, allowing the external appearance of the building to share the same elemental composition of the bookshelf-as-the-library.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

One’s encounter with the colossally long bookshelf within the university landscape registers instantaneously as a library, yet astonishing in its dreamlike simplicity.
The library most library-like.
The simplest library.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Investigation and Exploration

Investigation and exploration are two apparent contradictions inherent in the design of libraries.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Investigation is, by definition, a systematic spatial arrangement for the purpose of finding specific books. Even in the age of Google, the experience of searching for books within the library is marked by the order and arrangement of the physical volume of books.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

The opposing concept to Investigation is the notion of Exploration. The significance of library experience is also in discoveries the space engender to the users. One encounters the space as constantly renewed and transforming, discovers undefined relationships, and gains inspiration from unfamiliar fields.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

To achieve the coexistence of the two concepts, spatial and configuration logics beyond mere systematics is employed.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Here, the two apparent contradictions inherent in libraries are allowed to coexist by the form of spiral possessing two antinomic movements of radial path and rotational movement. The rotational; polar configuration achieves investigation, and the numerous layers through the radial apertures engender the notion of Exploration through an infinite depth of books.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

One can faintly recognise the entirety of library and at the same time imagine that there are unknown spaces which are rendered constantly imperceptible.

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

SOU FUJIMOTO
Musashino Art University Museum & Library

Tokyo, Japan
Design: 2007-09
Construction: 2009-10

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Architects: Sou Fujimoto Architects-- principal-in-charge; Sou Fujimoto, Koji Aoki, Naganobu Matsumura, Shintaro Homma, Tomoko Kosami, Takahiro Hata, Yoshihiro Nakazono, Masaki Iwata, project team
Client: Musashino Art University
Program: University Library

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Consultants: Eishi Katsura, adviser;
Jun Sato Structural Engineers--Jun Sato, Masayuki Takada, structural;
Kankyo Engineering--Takafumi Wada, Kazunari Ohishima, Hiroshi Takayama, MEP;
Taku Satoh Design Office--Taku Satoh, Shingo Noma, Kuniaki Demura, Inoue
Industries--Takafumi Inoue, Azusa Jin, Yosuke Goto, Hideki Yamazaki,

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Click above for larger image

Furniture & Sign; Sirius Lighting Office--Hirohito Totsune, Koichi Tanaka, lighting;
CAMSA--Katsuyuki Haruki, facade;
STANDARD--Keisou Inami, skylight
General contractor: Taisei Corporation--Tsukasa Sakata
Structural system: steel frame, partly reinforced concrete
Major materials: wood shelf, glass, exterior; wood shelf, tile carpet, polycarbonate plate ceiling, interior

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Site area: 111,691.93 m2
Built area: 2,883.18 m2
Total floor area: 6,419.17 m2

Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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  • Peter Wood NZ

    And the award for 'most time spent dusting unused shelves' goes to…

  • Martin

    Sitting in a swastika would never happen in Europa, too much history in that one.

  • oct

    what a waste of huge amount of material…

  • zetre

    I love Fujimoto's work, including this one!
    The nazi cubicles wouldn't fly in Europe though :).

  • suret

    why didn't somebody, anybody, saved all those wood (read:trees)? think of all the labour and needless materials used just for the sake of repeating the most primitive image of a library; shelves… and I cannot help myself but think the cleaning process; all those shelves, one by one, probably every month…

  • http://www.facebook.com/francesco.pusterla Francesco Pusterla

    Swastika reading table?

  • Romas

    good point about cleaning.. :)

  • http://www.wy-to.com Yann

    This Library is a joke in itslef and a total design concept failure. Once would guess that enclosing wood in an airtight glass box would have a physical reaction. Wood needs to breathe. Under the Japanese sunny winter, these nice boxes act as "mini-greenhouses". Condensation appears, water drip from wherever possible, moisture on glass, meldew on wood… What a waste and such disappointment from a so-called Renown Genius! These pictures taken right at the opening of the building do not reflect the reality of misconception and bad realization.

    • R..

      Judging on the photo's I don't think the glass is connected airtight to the wood. Which does solve the problem of condensation, but creates a new problem of cleaning: now water and dust can come behind the glass.

      For everybody else: remember that the Swastika symbol is also a Buddhist symbol in the other direction.

      • guy

        There is no rule in Buddhism that it runs one way or the other, its more common clockwise simply by convention. In India it commonly runs both ways. Only the Nazi's dogmatically used it one way and not the other. Nice way to mess up an important symbol for the rest of the world. Personally I think Europeans needs to get over it – what the Nazi's did was horrific, but clinging to the stigma of a symbol only gives it more power, as you see with racial epithets. And relaxing their proscriptive viewpoint would be a healthy sign of respect for the worldview of other cultures who use the symbol.

      • rui

        it is not buddhist but hindu and i feel that we are overhyping the symbol. the true defeat of that horrible violent ideology is when we just forget about it! Lets not be over sensitive to the symbols. After all they are just some strokes of lines…just patterns!

        • Cee

          It may also be hindu, but it is very prevalent in the buddhist world, temples are marked on Japanese maps with that symbol. Hitler turned it onto the diagonal and gave it the whole negative meaning for Europe and the Americas.

  • http://twitter.com/klauszoia @klauszoia

    I kind of love the composition of the plans, but, to me, it feels like the materials (inside and outside) are completely wrong, at least the way they are used, e.g. the ammount of useless shelves.

  • ton

    at least put that table upside down!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gunnara Gunnar Ágústsson

    This library is always going to look half empty! (and their glass half full)
    But I like it

  • ASphere

    reading partition is just served its reader well
    i assure that no one will care about its swastika-like form

  • Greenish

    Yes… all those empty shelves, they spoil the idea for me. Plus, the way libraries and learning are going, information isn't just going to be stored on shelves anymore. Out of date already.

  • Second Rate

    Greenish – I agree completely that libraries and learning environments are changing dramaticaly, though I would argue that the empty shelves act as a an interesting icon of past libraries, it is suggestive of "Library", and their emptyness really supports the change from an analogue to a more digital form of storing information. In 100 years, the dusty and empty book shelves will entice ones imagination about a time of material/pysical data and the loss of tacit knowledge of flipping through a book…

    Suret – Now that they aren't mashing up tree pulp to make books and filling the book shelves, there is a new use for the wood…right? Moreover, it's most likely a veneer on a substrait.

  • sara

    The irony of empty shelves in a dying cultural institution such as a library is pretty funny.

    the kindle/ipad is allot cheaper.

  • caiwei

    i love Fujimoto's work, but not this one. Unlike his other works, this one has a lot of wasted space.

  • Jme

    I had the pleasure to visit the campus a few years back and heard about this library from a teacher/friend. I can't wait to get back and see it with my own eyes. And the tables are that of the india oriented swastika symbol. Hitler stole the image and thus warped its true meaning. It is still commonly used in hinduism, buddhism, and in some indian religions.

  • Carlos

    Too much money spent, very little practical. And the Nazi table was lame, just put a regular "+", right? Nothing can be that secret on a library.

  • joseph

    i just got lost in all that philosophy…pretty but shame poor trees…

  • Fizz

    The reason for the empty shelves above a certain height is obvious – no-one brought a ladder…

  • zino

    I love the relentless grids, and am considering sending the librarian all my old books… but this new fetish of criticizing the reading cubicles is silly. They aren't true swastikas anyway, as the inner spokes are longer than the outer ones… it doesn't define a square as a Nazi symbol would, and it's quite efficient, material-wise… unlike the (probably forever) unused shelving.

  • rodrigo

    “nazi logo” table. i like the idea, but many poeple would interpret it the wrong way.

  • Gilnar

    I think he created an experience walking through that space. Inside and out. I like the high ceiling, takes away from the claustrophobic aspect of libraries in general. I like the continuity of bookshelves, but they could have changed function, like let it light or be porforated or something.

    It’s not the first bldg not architect to use wood in Buildings. And if they can afford this architect I’m sure they can afford cleaning services.

  • studio

    This is quite lovely, but I’d like to see how he handles the ladders as the new books are added.