Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Tokyo

Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Contemporary Tokyo Building Interior

Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Tokyo

Japanese Educational Building: New-Build & Refurbishment – design by Sou Fujimoto Architects

7 May 2018

Musashino Art University Museum & Library in Tokyo

Design: Sou Fujimoto Architects, Japan

Musashino Art University Museum & Library Building

This library project was designed for one of the distinguished art universities in Japan. It involved 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 Museum & Library, Tokyo
photos from LA

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

Musashino Art University Museum & Library interior

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 sqm in floor area.

Musashino Art University Museum & Library exterior

Musashino Art University Museum & Library

Library made from bookshelves

When I thought of the elements which compose an ultimate library, they became books, bookshelves, light and the place. 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. 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 within the university landscape registers instantaneously as a library, yet astonishing in its dreamlike simplicity.

Musashino Art University Museum & Library facade
images from architect

Investigation and Exploration

Investigation and exploration are two apparent contradictions inherent in the design of libraries. 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. 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. To achieve the coexistence of the two concepts, spatial and configuration logics beyond mere systematics is employed.

Musashino Art University Museum & Library steps

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

Musashino Art University Museum & Library wood interior

Musashino Art University Museum & Library Tokyo

Program: University Library and Museum
Client: Musashino Art University
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Site area: 111,691.93 sqm
Built area: 2,883.18 sqm
Total floor area: 6,419.17 sqm
Design: 2007-09
Construction: 2009-10
Structure: Steel frame, partly reinforced concrete

Musashino Art University Museum & Library images / information from FD

Musashino Art University Museum & Library Tokyo design : Sou Fujimoto Architects


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Musashino Art University Museum & Library Building

Website: Tokyo