Underground library at sustainable farm is filled with surprises
Tokyo-based architecture studio Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP has recently completed a captivating subterranean library. Dubbed Underground Library, the new reading space can be found beneath a grassy knoll located on the Kurkku Fields sustainable farm in Chiba, Japan. The innovative project was designed to offer patrons a reflective literature experience, while sitting in harmony with the surrounding natural spaces.
“The Underground Library lies like a cave, quietly hidden under the soil overgrown with trees and flowers,” says Kurkku Fields. “Just as plants and vegetables grow in symbiosis with microorganisms in the soil, we burrow into the ground, encounter books, accumulate knowledge, and cultivate the power of imagination. In order to step on the Earth again and advance to the future.”
Designed as a reflective and unimposing space, the Underground Library has been created so that visitors will simply stumble across its entrance when meandering around the Kurkku Fields sustainable farm. Therefore, the entryway emerges from the ground, inviting guests to quietly enter and explore its weaving corridors.
Passing through a series of twisting walkways, bookworms can fully immerse themselves as they wander through the warm interior space, filled with floor-to-ceiling high bookshelves, scattered cozy seating spots, and hidden reading nooks.
In keeping with traditional Japanese building aesthetics, the interior boasts warm timber furnishings, neutral tones and raw concrete floors, and is encased by a curved glass wall overlooking the central grassy courtyard, bringing natural sunlight into the subterranean space while also connecting visitors with nature.
At the heart of the library lies a circular room, with a magnificent timber ceiling made up of a series a slim beams that almost weave into each other as they twist upwards towards a central circular skylight that filters light into the space below.
A vast lush grass garden bed is installed above, over and around the underground space, which beautifully camouflages the library among its rural surroundings. The landscape architecture allows for easy monitoring of the irrigation and water retention, with simple and regular maintenance provided across the different seasons.
The Underground Library opened to the public on February 16, and is home to over 3,000 books across more than 50 categories, aimed at inspiring people towards their future, while absorbing the lessons and wisdom given to us from nature.
“We have selected books that offer a unique spread and connection to poetry, philosophy, history, religion, science, and economics, with a focus on nature and agricultural lifestyles,” added Kurkku Fields.