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Tadao Ando's 'forest of books', a maze to feed children's minds


The fantastic Nakanoshima Children's Library, in Osaka, is one of the most personal projects of the great Japanese architect

With the intention of paying tribute to his childhood and the children of his hometown, the self-taught architect Tadao Ando (Osaka, 81 years old) was encouraged to build the Nakanoshima Children's Book Forest, a library for young people based on the idea of ​​growth associated with childhood and the belief that books are good food for the mind.

Both merged to generate a kind of

forest of books

for learning;

a free space to read and enjoy literature.

Ando himself took over the cost of building the project, located next to Nakanoshima Park, on an island that houses various cultural institutions in the city.

The library takes the form of a circumferential arch and is connected to the Dojima River at the rear façade, through a large terrace covered by a concrete canopy.

"I envisioned the shape as a bow moments before shooting an arrow," said the architect.

At the door, one of Ando's efforts stands out: the sculpture of a giant green apple, a symbol of early youth in Japan, as it represents a fruit that is not yet ripe.

When asked about the germ of the building, the architect confessed that it had been based on the poem


by Samuel Ullman, which begins like this: “Youth is not a season of life;

/ is a mental state;

/ It's not a matter of rosy cheeks, / Red lips and supple knees;

/ it is a matter of will;

/ a quality of the imagination;

/ a vigor of emotions;

/ is the freshness of the deep springs of life”.

The interior, walls lined with books, is defined by a set of stairs, walkways and corridors that give shape to a three-dimensional labyrinth reminiscent of the enigmatic compositions in the xylographic engravings of the Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher.

A librarian guides the visitor through a beautiful three-story atrium and tells that the age range of the books goes from zero to 13 years.

When she is told that there are some grandparents reading, she replies: "Sure, and?"

Ah, then I understand.

Before Taro Gomi's wonderful children's books I see myself reading aloud years ago: “With my friend the owl I learned to observe the night.

With my friends the birds I learned to sing.

With my friends the books I learned to read”.

The readings are not ordered by genre, but by preferences: “Those who love animals”,

The show Fragmentos de libros

, created by the artistic and technological projects company Rhizomatiks,

is projected on the bare walls inside .

They are short phrases, extracted aphorisms that come to life through a dynamic projection that simulates a three-dimensional environment.

The design is sober, without colours, to leave as much space as possible for the imagination.

“I was born and raised in the Kansai area and have spent my entire career here,” Ando explained as he opened the space in 2020. “As a show of gratitude to my city, I decided to design and have fun with this structure, taking full responsibility for the cost of building it. construction.

Nakanoshima is a slender island located between two rivers.

Its crossing is located in the heart of the metropolis, the nucleus of Osaka's history and culture.

All its inhabitants understand its beauty and carry it in their hearts.

When I was a child he frequented this landscape and it has remained in my memory ”.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-28

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