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House with 30,000 Books

The House with 30,000 Books is a two-family residence in Tokyo characterized by a large library that separates the two dwelling units. The library stores a total of 30,000 books, which is the same number of stored volumes as many small public libraries.

The library serves as a buffer to maintain a small distance between the two families, as well as a common property that connects the two houses. Because of breaks in the row of houses to the northeast and the southwest of the site, we designed two daylight openings at both ends of the library in a 45-degree direction so that the library diagonally crosses the entire building. To secure and expand visibility from two daylight openings, two triangular wedge shapes are cut away from the east and west sides of the building, which resulted in two niche-shaped outdoor spaces. These triangular niches allow daylight into the library, also serving as gardens for the two dwelling units, so the triangular areas now work as outdoor spaces for the library with a shared parents household and child household, respectively.

For the two family dwellings, the design theme is always coexistence of the independence of the dwellings and the close relationship of the residences, which is why we set the library between the dwellings as a buffer, at the same time connecting both units indirectly via the two gardens created for the library. Though one family would not interact directly, they would have an indefinite sense of each other’s movements. We intended to create the perception of distance between the families.

The library is not only a simple space for storing books but also a comfortable residential space that represents the building. We designed the library to limit direct exposure to sunlight and outside air, so the vent door is usually closed to protect the books. Conversely, sometimes when necessary for ventilation and daylight, the library can be opened wide to the outside. In good weather, the families can open the door to let fresh air in, spend a luxurious time surrounded by many books, and experience the spaciousness of the room.

  • Credits Takuro Yamamoto Architects
  • Location Ohta-ward, Tokyo
  • Use independent residence
  • Site Area 193.50m2
  • Building Area 107.84m2
  • Total Floor Area 207.43m2
  • Completion August 2016
  • Design Period April 2014 – October 2015
  • Construction Period November 2015 – August 2016
  • Structure Wood
  • Client a married couple + a child, grandfather
  • Architect Takuro Yamamoto
  • Structure Design Matoh Structural Design Office
  • Construction Koushou Koumuten
  • Floor Maple Flooring 
  • Wall plasterboard + AEP
  • Ceiling plasterboard + AEP
  • Exterior Finish galvanized steel sheet, mortar + ceramic paint