The Faculty of Engineering of Kyoto University, originally located at the main campus of Hyakumanben in the northeast part of Kyoto City, has followed the gradual move to a new campus in Katsura, the western part of Kyoto. This new Katsura campus was built with strict image control, to create a unified theme for the entire campus. And the project this time was to set up a new library for the Katsura campus. In 2015, we were assigned to come up with a proposal for building this library, to be submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Science. The site was already designated in the total campus plan. It faced the office wing of the Faculty of Engineering, with a distant view over a bamboo forest, of the streets of Kyoto City to the east. The first plan was made in conjunction with the guidelines from the Faculty of Engineering.
In order not to block the eastward view from the office wing, the first plan was to build a low structure, just one story above the plaza level. The library facilities were designed below this height, with the consideration for the cityscape, and to build as a linear extension of the office wing. These points were continuously followed until the final plan was drafted. The final plan, however, had to be downsized below one-half of the first plan, limiting us to coming up with an alternative proposal incorporating necessary functions for the library facilities for the faculty, as well as for the neighboring public. All other functions were proposed only as options for future extensions.
Even in the final plan, we made sure that the image of the office wing facing the east was not disturbed, the linear extension from the office wing was followed and the distant view of Kyoto City over the bamboo forest from the reading room was protected as originally proposed. In addition, brick tiles were used for the building exterior, which was mandatory in the total plan for the Katsura campus.
This brick tile finish has been the basic rule for university campuses, as seen in the past for the Kyoto Institute of Technology and Kyoto University of the Arts, and accordingly, we followed this rule in designing the final plan. We believed that, rather than designing an architecture that stands out, this project called for an architecture that blended in with the entire campus, including the exterior details such as a plaza and passages to walk around.
For the campus of the historic Kyoto Institute of Technology, we proposed such architectural spaces which were slightly different from the entire campus image but still in harmony with it, just as in the KIT HOUSE project. However, here at the Katsura campus, the gradual moving is still ongoing for over 10 years and is yet to be completed. Therefore, we concluded that it was meaningful, not to present an architecture that stands out, but to set up a stage to play a harmonious tone by creating a discreet architecture as a public space. This is the way to nurture the history of this new campus.
Architects: Waro Kishi + K.ASSOCIATES/Architects
Area: 4556 m²
Lead Architect: Waro KISHI, Ryosuke SASAKI
Constructor: Tekken Corporation
Collaborators: Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc.