The Sendai Mediatheque is a mixed-program public facility which combines library and art gallery functions located in the city of Sendai, Japan.The general concept,was the free public accessibility. Located in an area of 50 x 50 m, the multimedia library should contain several features: library, internet booths, areas for watching DVDs, galleries, cafes, etc.
The design is based on three basic elements:
Platforms: there are 7 of them, there are the support where the functions are carried out. They are 80 cm. thick. It is actually a grid of metallic beams welded to two metallic plates, similar to those used in shipbuilding.
Tubes: There are 13 bundles of steel tubular structures covered in glass, resembling a twisted organic structure like a weed. They cross and support the platforms, extending beyond the ceiling.
Despite its fragile and transparent appearance, these structures provide flexibility, strength and horizontal and vertical stability to the building in an area of high seismic activity and constant typhoons.
The skin: it is a transparent membrane that allows fluid visual communication between interior and exterior, and at times the boundary between the two seems to vanish.
- The first floor, called Open Plaza, contains the reception, a cafe and a store of books and magazines. It is totally extroverted toward the street.
- The second level is the children’s library, internet and administration. It is a very open space, defined only by the furniture. A very interesting aspect is that the separation between the public reading area and the private administration is simply a translucent curtain, resembling a floating wall.
- At the third level and fourth level (the fourth is actually a mezzanine) are the area of loans of books and reading rooms
- The fifth and sixth floors exhibition galleries are located, used by the citizens of Sendai. Here, mobile rectilinear panels can be accommodated to the needs of the exhibition, in a clear reference to the sliding doors of Japanese architecture.
- On the seventh floor there is a cinema and conference rooms, which are wrapped in a matte glazed wall (Ito calls it a “membrane”) of curvilinear forms, that is located in the middle of space.