Segments in this Video

Multimedia Library (01:48)


The Multimedia Library in Sendai, Japan, has areas for a library, DVDs, exhibition galleries, and free internet access. Behind the glass facade, white, tubular structures rise to the top floor.

Toyo Ito (03:34)

Ito discusses his transparent design inspired by an aquarium. His 13 circular "chutes" hold up the floors, house the stairs and elevators, and can withstand earthquakes.

Huge Meccano Set (01:26)

Instead of beams, honeycomb plates between the chutes hold up the floors. Instead of a roof, honeycomb steel plates lie across the cylinder tops.

Four Facades (02:45)

The facades have different finishes. Facing trees, the bottom floors' clear glass reflects light, while floor extensions give a floating effect. Ito breaks the artificial order of architecture.

Media Convenience Store (00:59)

The ground floor has a cafe, reception, and shop. The 6 floors have areas for a children's library, internet and administration, reading rooms, exhibition galleries, cinema, meeting rooms, and a DVD library.

Public Space (02:57)

The transparent design encourages the feeling of a public space. Ito talks about different perceptions of space and the blank space between events.

Openness to Enhance Exploration (03:14)

The first floor areas are open for circulation or enclosed by a translucent curtain. Ito gives people many paths to explore by eliminating rectilinear walls.

Sliding Walls (01:41)

Only the 4th floor has rectilinear walls for the Sendai citizens' exhibition gallery where citizens install and dismantle the sliding walls.

Defined and Undefined Areas (02:10)

A translucent membrane undulates around the 5th floor area of offices and the DVD library and cinema. Ito notes the flexibility of functional areas like corridors.

Library Definition (02:21)

The structural cylinders define the space in the library for reading and bookshelves. Ito designed innovative electronic stations for free internet.

Physical and Virtual Worlds (00:56)

As Ito seeks to integrate with the virtual world of the internet, he breaks with 20th century modern architecture to create a place without barriers, leaving room for the ephemeral.

Credits: Multimedia Library of Sendai: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (00:51)

Credits: Multimedia Library of Sendai: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

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Multimedia Library of Sendai: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



Commissioned to build a public facility that combined a library and art gallery in 1995, Toyo Ito finally completed his new concept of architecture, the Multimedia Library of Sendai, in 2001. With his 50m by 50m glass cube, Ito proposed a transparent cube through which thin floor plates float suspended on organic-looking seaweed-like “tubes” that reinforce the "immateriality" and the lightness of the building. Ito expanded his mandate for a barrier-free, multifunctional building to create a fluid space for using state-of-the-art media.

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL65342

ISBN: 978-1-60057-653-9

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

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