Library Architectures Making Progress in the Promotion of Reading

During recent years, it seems many people have adjusted spending time at home because of the Corona disaster. There are a wide variety of ways to spend time at home. Among them, one of the most popular is reading books, which can be done easily in one’s spare time.
In this issue, we would like to introduce library architectures. Why not immerse yourself in the world of books and lose track of time in an innovative reading space?


  • Yamanashi Prefectural Library, Yamanashi
  • ‘Minna no Mori’ Gifu Media Cosmos, Gifu
  • Kyoto Prefectural Library, Kyoto
  • Okayama Prefectural Library, Okayama
  • Nasushiobara Municipal Library Miruru, Tochigi

1.Yamanashi Prefectural Library, Yamanashi

The Yamanashi Prefectural Library was established in front of Kofu Station in Yamanashi Prefecture, following the relocation of the library due to its dilapidation. The main concept of “living with nature” is expressed by the blue sky that can be seen from the ceiling and the curtain wall of vines. The skeletal frame was created in the image of the grape trellises and grape baskets which are associated with Yamanashi.
To dispel the image of the library as a quiet place, the library has set up spaces where people can freely talk and interact with each other. A silent room is also available for those who wish to concentrate on reading or working.

2.’Minna no Mori’ Gifu Media Cosmos, Gifu

‘Minna no Mori’ (A Forrest for All) Gifu Media Cosmos is a cultural complex consisting of Gifu City Chuo Library, the Community Activity Exchange Center, and the Multicultural Exchange Plaza. The library boasts a maximum collection of 900,000 books and seats 910 people. Upon entering the building, visitors will notice the wooden lattice roof that spans the entire ceiling. The gigantic bulbs are arranged like objects hanging from the ceiling. These are called “globes,” and they play the role of diffusing natural light into the room. The smooth, bending ceiling, the beautifully transparent globes, and the space surrounded by Gifu cypress will help you relax and lose track of time.

3.Kyoto Prefectural Library, Kyoto

The Kyoto Prefectural Library was designed by Goichi Takeda, known as the father of Kansai architecture, and opened in 1909. Its exterior gives a sense of the Western architecture that Takeda developed during his studies in the early 20th century. The building’s straight lines and curves are a perfect fusion of Western and Japanese styles, representing the modern architecture of the Meiji period.
The nearby Otorii (Grand Gate) of Heian Shrine is within view of the library, where visitors can stop by for a refreshing break from reading.

4.Okayama Prefectural Library, Okayama

The Okayama Culture Zone is an area where various cultural facilities and famous sites representing Okayama Prefecture, including Okayama Castle, are concentrated. The Okayama Prefectural Library is located in one of these areas. Located in a historical landscape area, the library is designed to connect other facilities with the natural landscape, showing the integration of history, nature, and architecture.
The reading room is a simple space with few columns. In consideration of the earth and running costs, natural ventilation systems and rainwater harvesting, solar power generation, and other natural energy sources are used. Sharp vertical windowpanes let in plenty of natural light, providing an ideal environment for reading.

5.Nasushiobara Municipal Library Miruru, Tochigi

Nasushiobara Municipal Library Miruru stands in front of JR Kuroiso Station in Nasushiobara City. The library embraces visitors by creating a “forest” which is the regional identity of Nasushiobara City. The entire library is covered with an angled louvered ceiling that resembles the lower edge of the canopy of a grove of trees. Lights pouring down from the roof represent sunlight filtering through the trees.
The library is intended to be a place of discovery and learning, where visitors can freely roam around the building and encounter the world of sculptures, exhibits, and activities scattered throughout the building. You are sure to find your favorite space in the laid-back museum.

In this issue, we have introduced Japanese library architecture.
Whether its for a change of pace or to find your favorite book, we hope you enjoy your reading time in an environment that is slightly different from your everyday routine.


5 Kansai Art Museum Architectures that Mix Modernity, Tradition and History

Following the previous article on Art Museum architectures in the Kanto region, we now present you those the Kansai region.
We hope you will enjoy the multicolored architecture of Kansai.


  1. Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka
  2. Sumiya Motenashi Cultural and Art Museum, Kyoto
  3. Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Hyogo
  4. Nara Prefectural Museum of Art, Nara
  5. The Museum of Modern Art Wakayama, Wakayama

1.Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka

The core architectural idea of Nakanoshima Museum of Art, with its impressive appearance of a large black box floating in mid-air, is “passage”. It was designed with the theme of an open space that allows people of all ages to casually visit.
The exhibition spaces are located on the third through fifth floors, while the first and second floors are public spaces that can be used by visitors other than those attending exhibitions. The building’s atrium creates an open space with a sense of unity. The use of black and glass walls creates a sense of novelty in each space, which is also one of the building’s attractions. We feel warmth in this museum that connects the inside and outside of the building.

2.Sumiya Motenashi Cultural and Art Museum, Kyoto

The Sumiya Motenashi Cultural and Art Museum has been designated as an “Important Cultural Property” as the only remains of Ageya architecture. It was originally an elegant restaurant where banquets and dinner parties were held accompanied by the entertainment of geisha. Built in 1641, it is a two-story wooden structure with a lattice work exterior that was widely used in machiya houses in Kyoto in the early-modern period.
Various types of walls are used inside the building, including white stucco walls, yellow otsu migaki, and asagi-colored kujo mud walls. The red walls are said to have been the most luxurious walls of the time, showed the high status of the Sumiya building. The exhibits include the Sumiya building itself as well as art works from the collection, which are displayed and open to the public, allowing visitors to experience the atmosphere of the Edo period.

3.Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Hyogo

Designed by Tadao Ando, one of Japan’s leading architects, the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art was designed based on the concept of not only displaying works of art but also providing a place for the fusion of various art forms. The famous circular terrace, the symbol of the museum, is a spiral staircase that connects each floor from the basement to the rooftop space. The contrast of light and shadow shining in from overhead is exquisite and harmonious, like a single work of art. The outdoor decks, named “wind,” “sea,” and “mountain,” respectively, provide a space to enjoy nature and the building from the outside.
The building itself can be considered as art, and different expressions can be seen depending on the time of day and the season.

4.Nara Prefectural Museum of Art, Nara

The Nara Prefectural Museum of Art is a modernist building designed by Mitsuo Katayama. The Nara Prefectural Office Building to the south and the Nara Prefectural Cultural Hall to the west were also designed by Mitsuo Katayama, creating a sense of unity around the museum. The concrete eaves rafters peek out from the cubic roof exterior, giving the building a Japanese warmth. The entrance hall is a two-story atrium with a distinctive pattern of lights on the ceiling. The interior of the museum is simple and compact, bringing out the best in the exhibits while minimizing the architectural assertiveness of the building itself.

5.The Museum of Modern Art Wakayama, Wakayama

The Wakayama Prefectural Museum of Art, located adjacent to Wakayama Castle, was designed by Kisho Kurokawa. Kurokawa’s design concept of “symbiosis” is reflected in this museum.
The museum was designed with attention to both traditional and contemporary landscaping. The roof eaves, which are used extensively, are calculated to blend in with the surrounding landscape by using the same shape as Wakayama Castle. The stone steps, lanterns, streams, Noh stage, and other external structures also represent Japanese tradition. The building was designed with a meticulous attention to “symbiosis” down to the smallest detail.

In this issue, we have introduced museum architecture in the Kansai region.
We hope you can spend some relaxing time surrounded by art and architecture.


7 Museum Architectures with Attractive Designs & Concepts 【Kanto Area】

The lingering summer heat has subsided, and autumn has gradually arrived in full swing.
When you think of autumn, what about the season comes to mind? Autumn is a season when people enjoy sports, reading, and eating…. One more thing that cannot be missed is the season of the arts. In this issue, we would like to introduce some art museum architecture in the Kanto region. We have gathered a number of buildings with appealing concepts that make the most of their locations.
Why not visit an art museum during this pleasant season and experience some wonderful art and spaces?


  • Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki
  • Stone Plaza – Nasu Ashino Stone Museum, Tochigi
  • Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi
  • Kawagoe City Art Museum, Saitama
  • Ichihara Kohan Art Museum, Chiba
  • SOMPO Museum of Art, Tokyo
  • POLA Museum of Art, Kanagawa

1.Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki

Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art, Ibaraki is located on the Izura Coast, which is said to be the preferred location of Tenshin Okakura, and was opened as a place where visitors can view the outstanding works of Tenshin Okakura, Taikan Yokoyama, and other artists from Izura. The museum and observatory offer a beautiful view of the coast.

The architecture was designed by Naito Hiroshi, who has worked on numerous public facilities. The most impressive point of the design are the beams with a strong presence visible from the main entrance. The thin, precast concrete beams are arranged in the form of trusses, creating a stunning and powerful impression.

2. Stone Plaza – Nasu Ashino Stone Museum, Tochigi

Originally a stone warehouse built in the Taisho and early Showa periods, this stone museum was reconstructed by architect Kengo Kuma. Located in Ashino, Nasu-cho, one of the leading stone production areas in Tochigi Prefecture, Ashino and Shirakawa stones mined on the land and in the neighborhood are used. The building is composed of several spaces, and the space where outside light can be seen through is a room with unique masonry. The stone tea ceremony room, the first of its kind in Japan, is a must-see. In addition, the all-stone space is an exciting place to learn about the history of stone, mining and finishing methods, and other topics in the gallery where special exhibitions are held regularly.

3.Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi

Tatara-numa, Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture, was chosen as an appropriate location for the museum’s theme of “the relationship between nature and humans”. The Tatara River to the north, wetlands to the southeast, and rice paddies to the southwest surround the museum. In order to minimize the lines dividing the space, the design was simplified as much as possible by utilizing materials such as stone, aluminum, glass, and water, and is beautifully integrated with the surrounding rich natural landscape.
The annex, with exhibits by François Pompon, was designed to resemble a farmhouse in the Burgundy region of France, with European roof tiles and limestone piles that are completely different from the stylish main building. This museum is a win-win situation for architecture lovers.

4.Kawagoe City Art Museum, Saitama

Kawagoe City Museum of Art is located in Kawagoe, a land of historical townscape. It is surrounded by the Kawagoe Castle Honmaru Goten and the City Museum, which is on the former site of Ninomaru next door. The building’s design has an exterior inspired local culture by Kawagoe merchant house of kurazukuri style. Using white plaster walls and Japanese roof tiles, the building harmonized with the remaining historic buildings, while mixing in modern materials brought a freshness to the kurazukuri style.
If you walk a bit further, you can enjoy the streets of Koedo Kawagoe Ichibangai, where traditional kurazukuri architecture stands in full splendor. Recommend for those who are interested in historical buildings.

5.Ichihara Kohan Art Museum, Chiba

The Ichihara Lakeside Art Museum is a nature-rich art museum located on the banks of Lake Takataki, which boasts the largest reservoir area in Chiba Prefecture. Based on the concept of “an oasis in the metropolitan area”, the museum was created as an art museum in the form of the renovation of a tourism and cultural facility that opened in 1995, a place rooted in the community where children can enjoy and have a new experience.
Utilizing the unique framework of the existing building, various spaces are created by inserting a lead-plated iron plate wall called the “Art Wall”. There is also an observation tower and a restaurant in the surrounding area, allowing visitors to experience the timelessness of architecture while experiencing artworks in the midst of nature. It is truly an art museum to be enjoyed with all five senses.

6.Sompo Museum of Art, Tokyo

The SOMPO Museum of Art was opened in 1967 as part of the SOMPO Group’s contribution to society. It is known as the only museum in Asia where Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” can be viewed.
The exterior and interior spaces of the museum was completely renewed at the time of its relocation in 2020. The building was designed with soft curves and curved surfaces, as if the building were a sculpture-like work of art. The entrance is made of a glass curtain wall, 16 meters wide and 8 meters high, with a gentle arc of glass that connects the building to the cityscape, creating a transparent and open museum.

7.POLA Museum of Art, Kanagawa

The Pola Museum of Art, located in the forest in Hakone City, Kanagawa Prefecture, exhibits a collection of more than 9,500 items collected by the late Tsuneji Suzuki, former chairman of the Pola Group, over a 40-year period. Based on the concept of “the symbiosis of art and nature in Hakone,” the building is kept at a height of only 8 meters so as not to encroach on the trees in the forest, and the museum expresses the harmony of art and nature by placing priority on preserving the natural landscape. In order to create a museum interior with abundant light and greenery, the use of a large amount of glass was meticulously planned and calculated. Therefore, even if you are underground, natural light will flood into the museum, allowing you to enjoy the natural beauty of Hakone and its art.

Introduced here is some museum architecture in Kanto, Japan.
We hope you will enjoy the “Art of Autumn” by experiencing this art and architecture.


GARDE Designs Office for SThree K.K. in Historical Ginza Area.

SThree K.K. is a global recruitment firm specializing in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field. Establishing their first office in London, SThree K.K. now has 44 offices in 15 countries around the world. GARDE was involved in the interior design, construction supervision, and FF&E coordination of their Tokyo office.

The office is located in a modern building connected to the Kabuki theater in the heart of the historical Ginza area. This contradiction sets the scene for the unveiling of this exciting workplace conceived and built in less than 6 months. The diverse and inclusive brand message of the company is captured through a multi-cultural design theme expressing strength in the sum of its parts.

The concept is inspired by the fusion of Western and Japanese culture into an open agile working environment that focuses on recruitment for the STEM industries. The project is highlighted by an ambient reception space with spot-lighted sub brands and a collection of minimalist meeting rooms. A futuristic portal then transports you to a cozy social hub complete with a billiard table, pub bar, and poker table expressing the Client’s deep UK roots.

A video of the completed office can be viewed at the following link.
click here

Project Director Profile
Christopher Brooks, AIA
International Design Division, General Manager, Design Director,American Institute of Architects (AIA), Master’s degree in Architecture.

He has experience in retail, office and residential design in the United States, Japan, and other parts of Asia. His key projects are the restaurant ADD in Marco Polo Hotel Hong Kong, Bandai Namco Studios Headquarters, adidas Japan Headquarters (Asia Pacific Property Awards 2015), and MetLife Japan Headquarters (Herman Miller Liveable Office Award, IDA Gold & Silver awards 2018).

Project Team
Nagisa Miura, Naoto Sudo, Francesco Ristori, Takanori Tsukiyasu, Daisuke Suzuki

Scope of work
Interior Design, Construction Supervision, FF&E coordination

Property Information
Name: SThree K.K. (Office design)
Location: Kabukiza Tower 9F, Ginza 4-12-15, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Store area: 1,315㎡

Design for〝Beijing Xidan JoyCity 2F Jewelry Theme Zone″Wins DNA Paris Design Awards 2022.

The DNA Paris Design Award was established in Paris in 2019 by the Farmani Group and a creative collective known as “In Between”.

The Farmani Group is also an organizer of the International Design Award (IDA), the Architecture Master Prize (AMP), the European Product Design Award (EPDA), the Paris Photo Award (PX3), the London International Creative Awards (LICC), the International Photography Awards (IPA) and the Lucy Photography Awards, which is considered the most prestigious photography awards in the world.

In Between is a Paris-based collective of philosophers and creators who come together to create something new and unprecedented.
From the launch of the fashion brand 〝Supermarket Paris“, to rooftop construction and design, to the production of content and documentaries, the collective continues to inspire the world as a group that pushes the borders of what it means to be a complex thinker.

The DNA Paris Design Award is an international award recognized by design professionals around the world, presenting and celebrating the achievements of architects and designers whose practical, beautiful, and innovative designs can improve our daily lives.

The ‘Beijing Xidan JoyCity 2F Jewelry Zone‘ is not a classical space that emphasizes the luxury of a traditional jewelry shop, but rather a “BrandMix“ that includes a casual café space。The result is a “self-first” space with diversity.

The concept keywords are (1) “Mine” (jewelry mine/one’s own) and (2) “Shine” (the sparkle of the jewelry/life), derived from the characteristics of the jewelry. To realize the concept, the design was inspired by the image of a soft, bright, clean, and calm jewelry mine.

The result is a wonderful space with a sense of unity as a zone, that also respects the concept and spatial expression of each brand.

Every year, GARDE actively engages in PR activities to promote design spaces and design excellence by entering several national and international design awards.



Click here for award results:

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