Musashino Place: The ideal library

Posted on May 27, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

musashino place


While I was in Tokyo, I met up with the Japanese architect/ director behind a brand that we will be launching soon. I mentioned to him that I would be visiting the Edo-Tokyo open air architectural museum, and he recommended a visit to the nearby Musashino Place in Musashino City.

Designed by kw + hg architect and opened in 2011, Musashino Place functions primarily as a public library, whilst providing spaces for children/youth activities, educational workshops, meetings and civic events. The building is located within a small park near the Musashi-Sakai station, and it stands out from afar due to its cool white exterior and massive oval-shaped windows.


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As soon as I stepped into the building, I was immediately struck by the clean lines and spaciousness. The mix of natural light source with soft interior lighting works harmoniously. This is one of the most minimal and yet striking libraries that I have ever visited. It showcases the essence of Japanese aesthetics and design principles brilliantly. It is simple, subtle, open, calm and well balanced. In many ways, this contemporary library is not so indifferent from a traditional Japanese zen temple.


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One of the most fascinating aspects of this building is that it appears to be a three storey building from the exterior, yet in fact, it has four floors and three basement including an underground car park! Aside from a library collection of 140,000 books and 600 periodicals, there are 400 reading seats, a cafe on the ground floor, as well as soundproof recording studio in the basement.


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When I was visiting the library, I saw groups of mothers and their young kids sitting and playing outside in the park. While inside, I saw a few elderly men taking naps on the reading chairs (why not?), students doing research and friends chatting and relaxing in the cafe.

Musashino Place not only serves as an educational facility, it also encourages social interactions for people of all ages and backgrounds. In an ideal world, all libraries should be like this... if all local councils in the UK would invest and improve their library facilities and services for youths, I am sure that literacy rates would improve and crime rates would also be reduced.

The residents of Musashino City are a lucky bunch!


This post was posted in Japanese design, Tokyo, Architecture, Travel, Anything Japanese, Read & write, Design, Contemporary and was tagged with Tokyo, contemporary architecture, library, Musashino Place, Japanese architecture