Kyoto, Japan | 1996


Our proposal for the Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library has sought to address the apparent paradox surrounding the universal proliferation of data, the presumed placelessness of information and the persistent necessity, nevertheless, to find a definition for this condition in architecture. Beyond the admittedly important legal and archival necessity for preserving hard copies of documents, the persistence of the library may be ascribed to less recognized processes attendant to globalization. The general phenomena of decentralization and dispersion of institutions made possible by new technologies overshadow a correspondingly specific trend towards centrality and agglomeration both within and appended to major urban centers in global economies. Japan's principal cities, (where most of the country's data is produced and consumed), have seen the advent of information zones: agglomerations of buildings and public spaces relatively small in scale whose organization promotes mutual interests and information exchange through direct communication. A new form of public space thus arises out of the interaction of two logics: first, the close proximity of major institutions and corporations, and second, this consequent influx of smaller institutions and services that are sustained by the presence of their larger neighbors. The success of such co-dependent organizations is predicated not simply on the major institutions that initiate the information zone, but on their capacity to act as catalysts for the advent of new programs and uses. Our proposal, therefore, embodies two distinct yet related imperatives: to fulfill the explicit programmatic criteria of the library while developing implicit spatialities that would foster the new and unforeseen irruptions of program brought about by the 'information zone.

Project Info

Finalist International Competition  |  Type: Offices  |  Structure: Pre-stressed Steel Roof, Hanging Concrete Floor Slabs


Project Credits


Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto


Design Team

Yama Karim, Marco Studen, Jose Sanchez, Robert Ayona, Shigeru Kuwahara


Computer Work

David Ruy


Consulting Engineer

Ysrael Seinuk

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