In this publication, Greg Lynn, Jesse Reiser, and Nanako Umemoto discuss RUR’s entry to the competition for the Kansai-kan, or Kansai branch, of the National Diet Library in Kyoto, a project that pairs an automated system for storing and retrieving library materials with a fluid landscape of public and research spaces distributed across three interconnected, sloping levels.
RUR’s design, which was a finalist in the 1995 competition, fulfils the conventional program of a library—information storage and access—while addressing both the explosion of digital tectonics in surface modelling and new library technologies. The design process began with hand drawings and wax models; the most complicated segments of the project were then modelled in the computer, allowing control over the three-dimensional geometry of the library building’s continuous landscapes and complex components.
The Kansai library marked the beginning of the integration of digital techniques for the firm, and exemplifies an approach to surface modelling and topological language that emerged in the mid-1990s. Through these techniques, the project proposes a new vein of public and social space that leverages the possibilities of information flows and their concentration at a specific site.
As part of a multiyear project that includes three exhibitions on twenty-five seminal projects, the CCA and Greg Lynn are publishing a series of digital publications recording conversations with key architects. The epubs are heavily illustrated with photos, drawings, renderings, videos, PDFs, and interactive 3D models.
Edited by Greg Lynn
Graphic design and development by Linked by Air
Available on iTunes
Published with the generous support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts