Tama Art University Case Study and comparison with Peckham Library
Toyo Ito & Associates
Tokyo , Japan
•Located in the suburbs of Tokyo
•It lies between Tama Art University's main
gate and the center of campus.
•Tama acts as an active thoroughfare for
people crossing the campus, even without
intending to go to the library.
modern interpretation of a geologic cave, which is a superb
natural example of how to delineate spaces
•located in the western part of Tokyo and
provides an ideal environment because of the
More open and green spaces
in which students can study and practice all
aspects of art and design.
•The library is the Northern gateway to Tama
Art University's Hachioji Campus in the
suburbs of Tokyo therefore the students have
to pass through it to get to the main building
•provide san open commonality for all, the
existing cafeteria was the sole place in the
university shared by both students and staff
members across all disciplines
•wide open gallery on the ground level that
would serve as an active thoroughfare for
people crossing the campus
•The circulation and services are on the south-
western part of the building
•The cafeteria has its kitchen in a circular
space, right next to it
•The north and west facade is facing green and
open spaces so making it a calm environment
for the readers.
•Ground floor mostly has media related facilities
•The arches, ranging from 9 feet to 49 feet in width, are formed along
intersecting arcs, with the columns being at intersection points. They
are spaced evenly enough to provide adequate structural integrity.
•The idea was to distort and modulate it, to get what is called an
•emergent grid of curved lines where the load is evenly distributed in
its 56 intersecting points. This allowed for the carving of the arches in a
way, so the thinnest part is where they touch the floor - much like the
stalactites that inspired the project. Thus, the heavy concrete
construction seems almost impossibly light.
•Though the building's 166 arches, varying in width from 1.8 to 16
m, follows the same grid on both levels, not two of them are exactly
alike, as the floor slopes at the ground floor while the roof slants at the
•The columns supporting these arches are very thin. The arches are
comprised of steel plates anywhere between 0.4 and 0.6 inches
thick, covered in concrete.
•While flanged steel plates could be used near the tops of arches, their
bases required something unique to support the arches and fit their
cross shape. To counteract Japan’s seismic activity-which could easily
rupture these weak column supports-rubber isolators were installed. A
slip isolation was also used to further prevent against possible
•Thus, the outer walls are lined with windows to allow large views
towards the exterior.
• three-degree slope on its ground floor
•the floor of the ground level follows the slope of the surrounding terrain allowing the
building to blend in with its natural surroundings, blurring of the lines between inside
and outside. It almost seems like the ground has eroded away under the building.
•In the South-facing end where the roof is lowest, there is a formal zone defined by
the high, rectilinear shelves, while in the North-facing end, a more informal reading
and studying area is indicated by low, sinuous shelves loosely following the curves
of the grid.
•The basement is on the south end having the mechanical area and storage
•The intersections of the rows of arches help to articulate softly separated zones
within this one space.
•The spatial diversity one experiences when walking through the arches different in
span and height changes seamlessly from a cloister-like space filled with natural
light, to the impression of a tunnel that cannot be penetrated visually.
Arch system –spatial analysis
• The arches are comprised of steel plates anywhere between 0.4
and 0.6 inches thick, covered in concrete
•The exterior comprises of glass and fair faced concrete
•The floor of the ground floor is concrete while the first floor is
covered with a black carpet
•The furniture is either of black colour or wooden, glass
•Its more of a raw interior as well as exterior creating tones of grey
•The sizes of the arches and the furniture varies creating
rhythm, giving these zones a sense of both individual character and
visual as well as spatial continuity and everyone can discover their
style of “interacting" with books and film media
•The fact that the shelves in the studying area are below eye
level, enables the library-goers to see the crowns of the surrounding
trees every which way they look. In this way, the "actual" nature is
brought into the building and contrasts the mimicked nature inside.
Seen from a distance, Tama Art University Library's
razor-sharp concrete arches resemble those of a
Roman aqueduct. But these associations come to a
sudden end once you enter the building and find a
wide-stretched cavernous and arcade-like space.
Its exterior glass walls and large arches allow the
contours of the natural environment surrounding the
campus to extend into the interior creating an
exhilaratingly open space.
Toyo Ito’s library at Tama Art University is comprised of a series
of concrete arches. The arches, which are of varying span
lengths, are arranged in an irregular patterns driven by the slope
of the surrounding landscape. The arches intersect to form
slender, loosely cruciform columns which ever so gently connect
with the earth.
The concrete ceiling is largely uncluttered, with the exception of a
series of halo pendants floating between the arches. The spaces are
divided into a variety of functions, allowing students to occupy it in a
number of ways from focused quiet study, chilled out relaxation
areas and areas for chatty social interaction..
Comparison between peckham library (London) & Tama art university
•Both of the libraries are located in the suburbs of their
•They are designed according to the social context
•Tama acts as an active thoroughfare for people crossing
the campus, even without intending to go to the library. The
same is with peckham but the people pass through the
cantilevered 4th floor and not through it.
•Tama has more green and open spaces around it.
Tama art university
The zoning of private/public spaces is planned
according to the grid
The spatial diversity one experiences when walking
through the arches different in span and height
changes seamlessly from a cloister-like space filled
with natural light, to the impression of a tunnel that
cannot be penetrated visually.
The cantilevered 4th floor is the main reading space while the
whole rectangular block is used for the private spaces and
The structural system is driven
by the pods and the slanting
columns on the ground floor
supporting the cantilever 4th
The structural system is on the grid
which is clearly visible on the plan.
Using emergent grid of curved lines
where the load is evenly distributed in
its 56 intersecting points, explores the
static potential of the grid to distort
and modulate it.
The library on the first floor has a
completely open plan made possible
by the grid - one large
fluid, continuous space with no
walls, just arches.
•Construction material is concrete and steel, the
use of materials is monotonic ranging from black to
•The characteristic arches are made out of steel
plates covered with concrete.
•The use of glass on the exterior makes the whole
structure light and transparent and it lets the flow
and views of the people freely penetrate through
•Variety of materials used including pre-patinated copper,
steel, colored glass panels and wood.
•The interior and exterior are contrasting in nature through
•the red carpeting and the various sitting pockets under the
pods makes the interior cozy and comfortable
•The copper and wire mesh used on the exterior makes the
building rough and tough and with the colored panels this
library becomes striking to look at.
•Natural lighting used mainly through the
niches and opening in roof above the pods
•Apart from the fully glazed wall on the north
façade, the openings on all the other sides are
smaller but still the amount of light is well-
•The main reading room is a double height
space so therefore artificial lighting is provided
in the false ceiling which is supported by
beams visible from the sides.
•Full sized windows on the exterior walls
•Ample amount of light into the library
•The artificial lighting is all indirect
•The circular plate like chandeliers provide
The structure overall is light and transparent
The planning is defined
Artificial thermal heating is provided but natural
lighting is ample
It is more geometric with the rectangular and
triangular spaces formed
Bulky and solid structure
It has a surprising element with the contrasting use of
materials in the exterior and interior
The lighting and air circulation makes it a sustainable
The slanting columns make it non-uniform and informal
Tama art university
Interior for under 5s by Melissa Jones
Japanese Interior Design by Michelle Gadindo