Project Three

The Sendai Mediatheque, designed by Toyo Ito
Model for columns in Sendai Mediatheque

Sendai Mediatheque is designed by Toyo Ito, one of the most well-known architects in Japan. This building mainly functions as a public media central, library, art gallery and private office in Sendai. In the design, Toyo Ito emphasizes three main elements of design: tube(columns), plate(floor) and skin(exterior walls). In the early sketch, it components with only tubes and plate. It expresses the focus about transparency from Toyo Ito.

According to Toyo Ito’s Sendai Mediatheque(2003), two main design characteristics have been underlined. The first one is floating building concept. By using fifteen main columns which vertically are formed floor by floor to go through the whole building, then minimize the visualization of floors and skin. Thus, these designs create a floating visual effect to Sendai citizens. The second main consideration are lights and transparency of this building. The Sendai Mediatheque has two layers of skin to separate the interior and exterior space. In order to create a transparency condition where has enough natural sunlight, amount of metal and double layers glass has been used in building skin. In addition, different with public use transparency area, office area and privacy area have semi-transparency skin to protect users’ privacy(Ito,Toyoo, 2003).

Final designs, model with skin(left), model without skin(right)
Views of model with skin from right side to left side.

Based on three main elements, the skin, plate and tube from Sendai Mediatheque design, in my design, I tried to emphasize the importance of columns. One continuous column is vertically composed floor by floor, therefore, I can use different patterns and designs for each column. I tried to use as different style of columns as possible, but they are continuous from whole view.

The size, shape and material of plates are different in each layer. From macro view, the shape of model is a inverted trapezoid, as the bottom layer could connect with a public square. I want to leave enough outdoor space for public activities. The size of plate increase from lower layer to higher layer. By using transparent material on the top of building, it allows enough natural sun shine to get in the building through columns empty spaces.

Skins cover three sides of this model, which is removable. The main reason I want to add skin is to give extra movement line for this model. Patterns on the skin is based on growing plants. I want to express the vivid, positive and dynamic emotion for this model.

Development Process:

During development process, I tried to change the shape of floor. Finally instead of regular square I chose to use a more random shape which shows air fluxion for the floor design.

Two main types of columns had been tested in the draft models, in order to make the final model with multi-patterns, I decided to use two main kinds of columns design at the end. Furthermore, instead of the skin design at the bottom, which uses basketry skill, I found paper cutting in final model could express more idea and emotions.

model with different plate shapes
draft model with different columns style
design for skin and decoration part


Ito Toyoo, 2003, Sendai Mediatheque, Barcelona:Actar, 2003

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.