Regular Feature

Greetings from the Outskirts of Kyoto vol.20

INOUE Shōichi (Director-General)
May 31, 2022

The entrance to the Nichibunken library consists of a three-floor atrium with a high circular ceiling. It is a most impressive space.

Nichibunken apparently asked the architect preparing the design, Uchii Shōzō, to take the British Library as his model. Indeed, the two are not dissimilar.

However, stylistically, it is closer to the Stockholm Municipal Library designed by Gunnar Asplund. I studied architecture in my youth, and that is the feeling I get. Architects who come to visit the library all confess to the same. I have since heard it directly from Uchii himself: that what he was aiming for was, indeed, Asplund-like.

It may well be that Nichibunken requested the British Library. Uchii presumably assented to this before switching to something more like Asplund. Architects do that sort of thing.  

My predecessors often said that the Nichibunken library was modelled after the British Library. I always thought that, actually, it was not. Here, let me record this impression for posterity.