“A university library designed by a world-leading architect inspires and challenges in equal measure.”

Tama Art University Library - Tokyo

We don’t think we have ever seen anything more modern, and simplistically beautiful as Tama Art University Library, which is exactly why it is featured in our ‘World’s Most Beautiful Libraries’ feature, which can be found here! It is clear to see why the beautiful architecture is home to a university library dedicated to art.

Tama University is located in the suburbs of Tokyo (it is one of the top art schools in Japan), and this particular library was designed by one of the leading Japanese architects, Ito Toyo. The library is located behind a front garden, which is decorated with trees. The exterior glass walls and large arches permit the natural environment to spill into the interior of the library, creating a breathtaking open space. Therefore, while the library is of a modern design, it has a natural essence to it, simulating a forest or a cave.

The design of the library flows spectacularly, with the first floor sloping gently from the front entrance – unlike ordinary architecture, the seamlessness of the design will have you fooled into thinking it was created by Mother Nature herself. The first floor is an all-purpose and gallery space, and this wide open gallery serves as an active thoroughfare for people crossing the campus – meaning the library benefits even those not intending to visit it, it evidently is a significant addition to the University. The first floor also has a theater area, with a big screen. Furthermore, at the rear of the first floor, the library offers the latest magazine issues, where many students spend their time whilst waiting for the bus. Upstairs, on the second floor, there is then multiple open access stacks containing over 100,000 books, as well as private reading seats and photocopying machines. The collection contains approximately 77,000 japanese books, 47,000 foreign books and 1,500 periodicals. The topics featured in the majority of these books include art, design and architecture – each section of the library is then separated into sections by the rows of arches. In order to continue enhancing their collection, the library is still collecting catalogues of overseas exhibitions and raisonnes.

Address: 3-15-34 Kaminoge, Setagaya, Tokyo 158-0093, Japan

Phone: +81 3-3702-1141

Website: http://www.tamabi.ac.jp/