Dezeen Magazine

Tama Art University Library by Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito's office has sent us a set of photos and a description of the architect's newly completed Tama Art University Library in Tokyo.


The photos are by Ishiguro Photographic Institute.


Below is some text on the project followed by credits:


Tama Art University Library (Hachioji campus)


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.


To 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. With these intersections, we were able to keep the arches extremely slender at the bottom and still support the heavy live loads of the floor above. The spans of the arches vary from 1.8 to 16 metres, but the width is kept uniformly at 200mm.


The intersections of the rows of arches help to articulate softly separated zones within this one space. Shelves and study desks of various shapes, glass partitions that function as bulletin boards, etc., give these zones a sense of both individual character and visual as well as spatial continuity.


On the sloped ground level, a movie-browser like a bar counter and a large glass table for the latest issues of magazines invite students to spend their time waiting for the bus in the library.


Climbing the stairs to the second floor, one finds large art books on low bookshelves crossing under the arches. Between these shelves are study desks of various sizes. A large table with a state-of-art copy machine allows users to do professional editing work.


The spatial diversity one experiences when walking through the arches different in span and height changes seamlessly from a cloister-like space filled with natural light, to the impression of a tunnel that cannot be penetrated visually.

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.

Project title: Tama Art University Library (Hachioji campus)
Location: Hachioji City, Tokyo, Japan
Architects: Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
Client: Tama Art University
Program: Library

Design and Supervision
Campus Planning : Tama Art University Campus Project Team
Architects: Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
Design team: Toyo Ito, Takeo Higashi, Hideyuki Nakayama, Yoshitaka Ihara
Associate Architect: Kajima Design
Structural engineers: Sasaki Structural Consultants
Associate Architect: Kajima Design
Mechanical engineer: Associate Architect: Kajima Design
Interaction design: Workshop for Architecture and Urbanism
Furniture design: Fujie Kazuko Atelier
Curtain design and fabricator: Nuno Corporation
Supervisor: Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
Design team: Toyo Ito, Takeo Higashi, Hideyuki Nakayama, Yoshitaka Ihara
Tama Art University Campus Project Team
Tama Art University Former Facility Office

Architecture: Kajima Corporation
Mechanical: Kajima Corporation
Shop drawing: Evergreen
Air-Conditioning, Plumbing & Mechanical Services: Techno Ryowa, Tonets Corporation,
Sanken Setsubi Kogyo
Electrical Installation: Kyokujitsu Electric, Kandenko, Toko Electric