This spectacular new public library in Kanazawa, Japan is more than just a repository for books - it's a true community center that provides locals with a place to spend some time turning pages. Coelacanth K&H Architects made the library a spacious and light-filled environment by keeping the main floor wide open and flooding it with natural light from 6,000 small circular windows. The building's prodigious day-lit facade combines with a smart cooling and heating system supplemented by natural ventilation to keep the interior cozy while saving energy.
The 45 x 45 meter building kept complexity to a minimum in order to make the most of available space and daylight. The dotted exterior walls contain thousands of round windows sized at 200, 250 and 300 mm, which provide a soft even light throughout the interior.
The building is kept cool all summer long by the small size of the windows, the exterior’s white finish, and large natural cooling vents that draw fresh air in through the roof. The under-floor heating and cooling system moderates temperatures at floor level rather than conditioning the entire lofty space, saving energy and improving comfort.
Reading areas are set along the perimeter of the walls to allow readers to make full use of the daylight, while multiple designated rooms provide space for more specific activities. The architects modeled the floor plan on the 19th century Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, where a simple, large, open floor dotted with slender columns allows visitors to be immersed in the written word. The open floor plan also allows for more interaction among visitors.
Tucked below the main floor is a mixed-use series of spaces including a theater, multiple meeting rooms of various sizes, and an automated shelving that stores the collection in a closed stack system to save space and optimize organization.