Coastal Library for Japanese Children

In the minimalist building in terms of materials and layout, books are the thing that stands out, arousing excitement for children.

Picture Book Museum, also known as the Picture Book Library, is located in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. According to Architectuul, Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed this private library in 2005, mainly to serve three kindergartens.

The building is nearly 500 square meters on a total floor area of 635 square meters. On the outside, the gray concrete block doesn’t really attract the eyes of children.

However, when stepping inside, the brilliance of the neatly arranged books on the shelves is enough to overwhelm anyone.

The decoration and interior of the building are minimized. The hallways are deliberately kept dark, making the book stand out more than ever. “Thanks to the darkness, you can see the light,” Ando said.

The only three materials used in the library are reinforced concrete, glass and wood. Although many people do not appreciate concrete in many projects, Ando feels the warmth it brings. He found that the different shades of concrete help create more depth in the building.

The Picture Book Museum is considered one of the 25 most modern libraries in the world.

Going beyond its original purpose for children, visitors from all over also flock to admire the talented architect’s work and enjoy the international children’s book collection.

6,000 people visited the library in the first 10 months. They call this the “architecture of light”. The coastal location makes the building more poetic.

Critics remark that, like many other famous Ando buildings, the library creates the illusion that while built of concrete, its main materials are light and air.

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