Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Kazumi Kudo and
Hiroshi Horiba / Coelacanth K&H Architects

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Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

Around 6000 holes puncture the concrete exterior of this library in Kanazawa, Japan, by Kazumi Kudo and Hiroshi Horiba of Japanese firm Coelacanth K&H Architects.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

Translucent glass fills each hole, diffusing natural light into the 12 metre-high reading room of the Kanazawa Umimirai Library.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

This primary reading room occupies the entire first floor, overlooked by a mezzanine containing informal reading areas and a craft corner.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

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Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

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Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

Photography is by Satoshi Asakawa.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

The following information is from the architects:


Kanazawa Umimirai Library

A library for the future

Reading - for the sake of knowledge or enjoyment, or to explore the world of the human imagination - is one of those experiences that gives you a sense of emotional and spiritual richness quite different from economic or monetary well-being. In this sense, the act of creating a space that surrounds you with books is undoubtedly linked to the creation of a new, enriched sense of public values.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

Libraries in Japan are moving towards a model that encourages readers to stay and linger, instead of their original function as spaces for collecting and lending out books. Reflecting the general trend for libraries to facilitate reading as well as other functions, this library uses compact automated shelves that operate as a closed stack system. This is combined with halls and meeting rooms that promote social exchange between its users, much like a community center. The facility is also expected to serve as a new hub for social life among the local community.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

For a public library such as this, we thought that the most important thing to have would be a reading room that provides visitors with a pleasant, comfortable space to read. This environment would allow users to experience the joy of reading while surrounded by a treasure trove of books with a overwhelming physical presence, something that the convenience of electronic and digital books cannot offer. For this project, we proposed a simple space measuring 45m by 45m with a height of about 12m, enclosed by a "punching wall" and supported by 25 pillars that would function as a storehouse for books and a hub for human communication. This huge, massive volume served as a reading space in keeping with the mood and setting of a library.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

What we wanted to do, in other words, was to design a certain "atmosphere" for books and reading. This library consists of a single quiet and tranquil room that resembles a forest, filled with soft light and a feeling of openness reminiscent of the outdoors. One successful example of such a space is the old Bibliotheque Nationale (National Library) in Paris designed by Henri Labrouste, a masterpiece that was built using the most advanced steel construction technologies of the 19th century.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

The building represents a continuous relationship that brings books and humans together even as it changes and evolves, transcending time and history. This simple box-like form also contains within it a certain freedom, however: this is a space that permits a composite mix of various media that will continue to change and evolve against the backdrop of an information-centered age.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

The overall structure of the library resembles an internal three-layered floor covered with a large box that we refer to as a "cake box". The large external "punching wall" in the cavernous reading room features some 6,000 small openings (measuring 200, 250 and 300mm) across its entire surface that allow a soft, uniform light to enter the building.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

In addition, the burden of seismic force from any earthquakes is born across the entire expanse of this wall. A floor heating system that warms and cools the building under the floor has been installed in order to make this large space comfortable to inhabit, while large natural ventilation openings in the roof ensure a pleasant and comfortable indoor environment during the warmer months.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

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Calibrated and calculated with the utmost precision, this beautiful "cake box" space will hopefully become a new symbol of the western part of Kanazawa, a city that continues to face rapid urbanization.

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

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Project Outline

Client: Kanazawa City
Location: Kanazawa city, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan
Date of Completion: 2011.03
Principal Use: Library
Structure: Steel frame, reinforced concrete (partly)
Site Area: 11,763.43 m2
Building area: 2,311.91 m2
Total Floor Area: 5,641.90 m2 (469.06m2/B1F , 2,071.89m2/1F, 2,065.79m2/2F, 832.23m2/3F)
Design Period: 2008.08 - 09.06
Construction Period: 2009.09 - 11.03
Structural Engineer: Structural Design Office OAK
Mechanical Engineer: Electrical facilities: Sestubikeikaku Co.,Ltd.
Machinery facilities: Scientific Air-conditioning Institute
Supervision: Kazumi KUDO + Hiroshi HORIBA / Coelacanth K&H Architects
Interior Design: furniture: Fujie Kazuko Atelier, Lighting: Koizumi Lighting Technology Corp.
Landscape Design: Soichiro Tsukamoto Architecte de Paysages (Basic design)

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

Click above for larger image

Material Information
Exterior Finish:
-Roof: Asphalt waterproofing with torch method, acrylic resin emulsion paint high gloss type
-Exterior wall: Glass-fiber reinforced cement, fluoropolymer coating, photocatalyst KBL coating on glass surface
-Window : Aluminum sash/ Steel sash/ Stainless sash
Exterior:
-Trees and plants: Zelkova, Quercus myrsinifolia, Ilex pedunculosa, Quereur phillyraeoides and others
-Pavement : Permeable concrete/ Asphalt
Floor: 6.5mm tile carpet/ 5mm rubber floor tile/ 15mm compound floorings maple
Wall: 3.2mm steel panel, 1.6mm synthetic resin base ready-mixed paint/ 9.5 + 12.5mm plaster board, Synthetic resin emulsion paint/ 6mm incombustible veneer
Ceiling : 12mm rock wool board/ 25mm 80kg/m3 glass wool

  • Hercule Poirot

    If there is no glass at the outer side of the holes the pigeons will love it. If there is, who cleans all the 3,000 of them ?
    Another remark : why does a reading room need a 12 meter high ceiling ?

    • Anthropos-logista!

      its a library not a reading room! and that is call proportion and scale, if you havent noticed in all history of architecture this probably would get you mad, blissed out or at least a bit comfortable!

      • hfairy

        there are no pigeons in japan

        • Hercule Poirot

          I checked : there áre pigeons in Japan :-)
          They seem to buy all belgian pigeon race champions !
          So : who will clean the holes, huh ?

      • Hercule Poirot

        It ís a reading room :check the text and the pictures. What you call proportion and scale in historical examples were merely the result of building techniques of the time. Also the result of oversized egos of both architect and comissioners. I don't mean there aren't impressive and beautiful gigantic buildings but let's be honest : this isn't the Sixtine Chapel.

    • bang2tang

      Extra air circulation, perhaps?

  • Adarsha

    Subtle design moves yet slightly boring!!! In short, nice experiment..

  • http://www.archispasm.tumblr.com archispasm

    A nice ambience is created on the interior with all the filtered light coming through. However, it could have been a lot more interesting to explore a diversified pattern based on sun paths, views and more specific localised interior lighting requirements; at the same time creating a rather more interesting exterior. Certainly more expensive though!

  • James

    distracting.

  • Scud

    looks a lot like zumthors Kolumba museum in Germany

    • James

      Very similar, except for the fact that this one isn't much good.

  • yuc

    lets compare it with a similarly hermetic library built about 150 years before this; namely, the national library in Paris by Henri Labrouste. Both buildings also have high ceilings and thin round columns in the reading room. But why do I prefer the elder one? May be because the fashionable perforated skin is in itself a mockery of architecture as something willing to be profound, I don't know.

  • http://www.thedisgruntledarchitect.wordpress.com thedisgruntledarchitect

    Agreed, for reading, this is a distracting environment…it hurts my eyes just looking over the images quickly because the eye can't process all the holes that quickly. I also agree with the pigeon comment, it may be an interesting experiment in facade design, but the birds will have a heyday with it and the rain screen is going to be a beast to maintain.

  • Soupdragon

    Google search "Sanaa IVAM" to see their version of this from 6 years ago.

  • rock

    soupdragon: sanaa's ivam concept was not the same; it was for an independant lightweight outer skin covering the existing building and exterior space, not a perforated structural building envelope as is the case here.

  • architecture fan

    buncha haters are you. I'm diggin the way they solved the perf patterning problem in the precast panels by jigsawing the joints.

  • chk

    I think I would enjoy scenery better than no scenery

  • Columbo

    We’d be killed for proposing this in architecture school. It would be nice as a portion of a building in which light and solitude would be required.

  • ted

    Very SANAA.

  • bang2tang

    It looks too modern for me and not blending well with the environment surrounding it, especially the Japanese-style houses around the building. Would love if they add a traditional Japanese architecture touch on it.