Kanazawa Umimirai Library
Coelacanth K&H Architects

July 25, 2011 /

Kanazawa city, Japan

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

A single quiet and tranquil room that resembles a forest, filled with soft light and a feeling of openness reminiscent of the outdoors.

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.

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

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 an overwhelming physical presence, something that the convenience of electronic and digital books cannot offer./Kazumi Kudo + Hiroshi Horiba

The reading room, measuring 45m by 45m with a height of about 12m, is enclosed by a "punching wall" and supported by 25 pillars that function as a storehouse for books and a hub for human communication.

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

The overall structure of the library resembles an internal three-layered floor covered with a large box - referred to as a "cake box." The large external "punching wall" 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.

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

Photo: Satoshi Asakawa

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.

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./Kazumi Kudo + Hiroshi Horiba

Model photo courtesy Coelacanth K&H Architects

Model photo courtesy Coelacanth K&H Architects

Drawing courtesy Coelacanth K&H Architects
Plan Level 1

Drawing courtesy Coelacanth K&H Architects
Plan Level 2

Drawing courtesy Coelacanth K&H Architects
Plan Level 3

Drawing courtesy Coelacanth K&H ArchitectsSections

Facts about Kanazawa Umimirai Library

Site area:

11,763.43 m2
Building area: 2,311.91 m2
Total Floor area: 5,641.90 m2

Structural Engineer:
Structural Design Office OAK

Mechanical Engineer:


Interior Design:

Fujie Kazuko Atelier


Koizumi Lighting Technology

Landscape architects:

Soichiro Tsukamoto


Kanazawa City

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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