Kikuchi City Central Library, Kumamoto

Designed by: Kazunobu Nakamura / NOMURA Co., Ltd.
For client: Kikuchi city Floor area: 1700.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: Social Award

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© Atsushi Ishida

"BOOK RIVER" creates a rich relationship between people and books

About the Project

This library was built in Kikuchi City in Kumamoto Prefecture, a city with an abundance of water and many canyons. The Kikuchi River is an important part of the city’s identity, so we designed our space around 100m long bookshelves with a curved shape invoking an image of a flowing river. We named these gigantic bookshelves a “book river ”.
The gigantic shelves wind through the building, dividing it into different spaces. The book river begins in the children’s room, with low shelves enclosing the space. The “river” swells as it enters the main library area, gradually forming a dense area that subtly surrounds patrons with books. The book river leads patrons to areas with different atmospheres, through a progression that always feels natural.
We even created 13 holes in the shelves to emulate the way waterfalls and rocks add interesting differences to the flow of a river. The holes provide places to sit, pass through, come closer or look through, creating interactions between patrons and the shelves and thus between patrons and the books themselves.
This design turns the library into one big area like square where patrons can find the area that feels most comfortable for them at any given time.

What’s unique about it

Kikuchi city is a city where young people leave the area and are depopulating. The goal of this project was to create a library that this city's children would like and let them think that "I want to come back to Kikuchi city someday" by the children in the future. Therefore,I wanted to design this library as a vibrant place that citizens can gather safely like a square in Europe.
The Kikuchi River is a beautiful valley filled with highly transparent water that was also chosen as "Japan's beautiful water BEST 100". The festival held once a year in this city is a festival where the dragon dances, which is said to have been born from this river. I felt Kikuchi River is a very important existence for Kikuchi citizen. So I took in this river which is a local symbol to the design motif.
The library was in the 2 months from the opening, 40,000 people, 80% of the city's population, came in. Children visit like everyday and the library is always vibrant. Also despite being a library, wedding ceremonies were held at the desires of citizens.
We hope that this library will be valuable as a civic plaza of Kikuchi.

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© Atsushi Ishida

A symbol hanging from the ceiling indicating the address of the book

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© Atsushi Ishida

Children's library surrounded by hills

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© Atsushi Ishida

Bookshelf capsule

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© Atsushi Ishida

Circle table area

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© Atsushi Ishida

Stairs bookshelf corner

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© Atsushi Ishida

Hole tunnel connecting space

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© Atsushi Ishida

Through the bookshelf

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© Atsushi Ishida

The landscape created by "BOOK RIVER"

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© Atsushi Ishida

Overall image of "BOOK RIVER"

Location of project:
NOMURA Co., Ltd.


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