Musashino Library, a spiral of looks and reading


Reading time 2 minutes

Sou Fujimoto is one of the most interesting architects among young people on the international scene. He has just won, along with Toyo Ito, Kumiko Inui and Akihisa Hirata, the Golden Lion Award from the Venice Architecture Biennale for the proposals presented in the Japan pavilion.
In addition, he has just presented his project for the Domaine de Boisbuchet, the creation space of Vitra and the Pompidou Center, in France. There, in the presentation of Boisbuchet, with a leisurely air and serene presence, he introduces us in his ideology about the architecture of the present through one of his works already done, the rehabilitation and expansion of the main building of the Musashino University of Art, turned into museum and library of new plant, with an area of ​​6, 500 m2.
The library, seen from above, is a transparent box arranged internally in the form of a spiral, with capacity to store about 200, 000 volumes. Inside there are no walls themselves, but it is the shelves that organize the space through successive concentric lines, becoming, rather than pieces of furniture, the main protagonists of the project. “The shelves, ” says Fujimoto, “ are a symbol of the dream of reaching wisdom through knowledge, through books. A large part of the shelves are empty, which leads us to think about what remains to be learned, analyzed and experienced. "The shelves are made of light wood, linden, which provides warmth and increases the feeling of spaciousness, which is completed with the possibility of seeing the outside through the glass wrap.

Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto in his "Wooden House" © Corbis

When we ask him about the value of libraries in the digital age, he responds forcefully: “It is a basic meeting point because it is real, not virtual, a place of physical exchange of knowledge, ideas, discussions and looks. In addition, in a faculty of fine arts, published volumes on art are important for research; for their cost they can hardly be acquired or seen clearly on the internet. ”
The visual contact between inside and outside, between intellectual activity and nature, is also very important for Fujimoto: “This is an essential part of my designs, being in contact with natural light and its changes, which through year the transformations of the seasons can be observed. ”
Mushasino's art students go into their spiral to read and look at art books, but that spiral is not chaotic, but it drinks from rationalism. The order and perfect signage allows them to quickly find the book they are looking for, and the layout of the space invites them to meet. The common spaces are comfortable and functional to facilitate, as Fujimoto says, that exchange of views that is impossible to occur in the virtual internet.

Biblioteca Musashino: espacios para el aprendizaje y para lo que queda por aprender

Musashino Library: spaces for learning and for what remains to be learned © Corbis