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Stepped seating at the children's library by Yukawa Design Lab

Yukawa Design Lab arranges Shirasagi Children's Library around playful wooden steps

Architecture studio Yukawa Design Lab has created a children's library overlooking Shirasagi Park in Sakai, Japan.

Connected by a bridge to the neighbouring park, Yukawa Design Lab designed the timber-framed building with large windows to connect it to the green space.

Exterior view of Japanese, mono-pitched children's library
Yukawa Design Lab designed Shirasagi Children's Library in Sakai

On the ground floor, the 192-square-metre building has an infant zone and cafe along with outdoor seating for use by the local community and children.

Large, playful, wooden steps, which provide a "resting space" for the children, lead to a reading space on the upper floor that overlooks the lobby.

Large steps in library
The library features large wooden steps with reading space and book storage

The spaces were unified under a shingle-covered, mono-pitched roof to encourage visitors to feel "connected to each other under one roof".

According to the studio, this roof was also designed as a way to connect the children to "the forces of nature" such as sunlight and rain as another learning experience.

Overhanging roof of Yukawa Design Lab's children's library
It has a kinked facade with an overhanging roof

The facade was made largely from glass to create a "unique exterior and fun atmosphere" to encourage engagement from the children.

Double-height walls offer space to store over 3,000 books, while large openings provide views in and out of the space, allowing for the local community to engage with the library activities.

The building's orientation optimises views of the neighbouring park to create a "calm and comfortable" learning space for the children.

The kinked facade mimics the shape of an opened book, with the building's entrance strategically aligned with the nearby bridge entering the park.

This reinforces a connection between the library and Shirasagi park to encourage a flow of movement from one to the other.

Study space showing internal timber structure of Yukawa Design Lab's library
The upper floor provides quiet study space for the children

The openings have also been carefully designed to allow indirect sunlight into the space, with the slanted roof providing shading from direct western sunlight.

In keeping with the surrounding natural landscape, the timber structure is visible in the interior and complimented by green and grey carpeting.

View of library by Yukawa Design Lab showing kinked facade and shingle-covered roof
The library has a kinked facade and shingle-covered roof

According to the studio, the project was designed to create a nurturing environment for the children with a wider goal of involving local people, businesses, and universities, and increasing the cultural value of the area.

Yukuwa Design Lab is an architecture firm based in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan. Previous projects by Yukawa Design Lab include a house built around a multi-purpose atrium.

The photography is by Tanaka Katsu.

Project credits:

Architect: Yukawa Design Lab
Structural design: Jun Yanagimuro Structural Design
Construction: Vico Office

More images and plans

Ground floor plan of Yukusawa Design Lab's children's library
Ground floor plan
Upper floor plan Yukusawa Design Lab's children's library
Upper floor plan
Short section drawing of Yukusawa Design Lab's children's library
Image showing library entrance with views of neighbouring Shirasagi park
Children arriving on bikes to visit Yukawa Design Lab's library
Upper floor of library showing study space
View toward Shirasagi Park from library entrance
View from sheltered outdoor area of Yukawa Design Lab's children library
View of ground floor spaces in Yukawa Design Lab's library
View of upper floor showing study space
View into entrance space showing wooden steps of children's library
View of library entrance showing timber structure
External view of building entrance showing interior space