Sendai Mediatheque
2-1, Kasuga-machi, Aoba-ku
Sendai-shi 980-0821

Toyo Ito, 2001

The Mediatheque is located on a tree-lined avenue in Sendai, its transparent facade allowing for the revelation of diverse activities that occur within the building. Along this main facade the six 15.75-inch-thin floor slabs seem to be floating within the space connected only by the 13 vertical tube steel lattice columns that rise up from ground floor to roof, similar to the trunks of trees of a forest.  

The tubes are both structure and vector for light and all of the utilities, networks and systems that allow for technological communication and vertical mobility, including elevators and stairs.  Each vertical shaft varies in diameter and is independent of the facade, allowing for a free form plan which varies from floor to floor.

The main entrance leads to a double height hall that consists of an information counter, an open square that supports film screenings and other events, a café and retail shop.  Through the transparency of the facade and the continuation of the curtain wall to the ground this space reads as a continuation of the surrounding city. 

The interior of each level of the mediatheque is designed by a different designer.  On the ground floor Kazuyo Sejima places the administrative offices behind a translucent screen.  The second and third levels house the Shimin Library and include a browsing lounge with internet access with furniture designed by K.T Architecture.  The fourth and fifth levels contain gallery space; one level an exhibition space with moveable walls and the other an exhibition space with mainly fixed walls with rest area seating by Karim Rashid.  The sixth level houses the multimedia library dedicated to audio-visual with green and white furniture designed by Ross Lovegrove and a 180 seat cinema. 

The simplicity of elements, what the architect defines as plates (floors), tubes (columns) and skin (facade / exterior walls), allows for a complexity of activity and information systems. The diverse programming creates an intricate spatial rhythm which is defined by varying degrees of public spaces; communal spaces of activity and individual spaces of repose and solitude. 

Kari Silloway 2004

How to visit

Getting there

By subway from Sendai station take the subway bound for Izumi-chuo to Kotodai-koen station (3 minutes) take exit Koen 2. The mediatheque is a five-minute walk.

By bus approximately 10-minute ride from JR Sendai station on a bus bound for Kotsukyoku-Daigakubyoin via Jozenji-dori. Get off at Sendai Mediatheque-mae stop.

By foot the mediatheque is a 20-minute walk from Sendai station.

Opening hours

Mediatheque 9am -10pm (closed December 29 – January 3).

Shimin Library 10am – 8pm (closed Mondays except holiday Mondays, days after national holidays, 4th Thursday every month and December 28 – January 4).

For more information telephone +81-22-713-3171, email or visit

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