Earlier this year a new library opened up in Tokyo’s Bunkyo-ward. Designed by architect Akihisa Hirata, Yoshioka Library is an architecture nerd’s dream come true – an archive of roughly 5000 titles of architecture magazines ranging from popular to obscure. The collection includes Japanese magazines, foreign magazines and even up-and-coming titles like C3 (Korea) and Art4D (Thailand). If you’ve read our previous posts on Hirata you’ll know that he is often inspired by trees – a form he finds highly symbolic because of their intrinsic abilities to offer shade and create resting places for all living things.
The library is often considered a place of rest, concentration or contemplation. And in Hirata’s library, the tree takes root as shelving, extending up through the trunk and branches where the magazines act as leaves. One of the results of this structure is that every issue’s cover, rather than squeezed together with only the binding exposed, is facing outward, making them easy to spot.