The International Library of
Children's Literature 12-49 Ueno Park
Tadao Ando 2002
Located within Ueno Park, The
International Library of Children's Literature, a branch of the National
Diet Library, is a renovation and expansion of the former Imperial Library
built in 1906 and expanded in 1929. The subtle interventions of Ando
create a dynamic juxtaposition between the old and the new while creating
the first national library dedicated to children's literature.
The interventions of Ando are
quite simple and elegant; a glass volume that pierces the
renaissance-style street facade at a slight angle to form an entry, a
continuation of this glass volume on the courtyard side to form a
cafeteria, and a full height glass facade on the courtyard side that
encloses a lounge space between it and the existing facade flanked on each
end by a concrete volume containing vertical circulation.
The transparency and
weightlessness of the glass facade allows for the continual reading of the
old through the new. The existing facade was restored exactly as it was
and the structure of the existing building was reinforced structurally
against earthquakes. This new lounge area has a columnless interior, the
glass facade supported only by vertical fire resistant steel supports.
Because of its transparency and weightlessness it reads as part of the
terraced exterior courtyard space.
In addition to the insertion of
these glass volumes, concrete volumes and glass facade, Ando inserted two
beautifully crafted wood cylinders into what used to be the reading room
and is now the Children's Book Museum on the third floor. The form of
these cylinders follows the form of the existing molding on the ceiling
and defines smaller, more intimate, exhibition spaces within the larger
room. When seen from outside of the room, they are provocative objects
within a traditional space of white plaster moldings.
How to visit
The museum is 10 minutes' walk
for JR line Ueno Station (Park Exit) or from JR line Uguisudani Station
It is normally open 9:30am-5pm
November to February the Museum, the Media Corner, the Children's Library
and the Meet the World close at 4pm.) It is closed on public holidays,
Dec. 28-Jan 4, third Wednesdays of January, March, May, July, September