an underground library in japan’s kurkku fields invites bookworms into a cave-like reading space

Underground Library by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP Architects design a new reading space in Kurkku Fields, Japan that immerses readers and bookworms in the green architecture covered with grass fields. Surrounded by greenery, the an underground library It aims to be a reading corner for people who want the comfort and joy of reading while within the reach of nature. In the fall of last year, Kurkku Fields Villa also unveiled a cocoon where guests can experience life in the open and a new form of nature, living things and human activity.

As the name suggests, Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP Architects turn the underground library in Japan into a safe space hidden underground, a sanctuary located in the earth like a cave rather than rising above the ground. The reading space is located in the center of the ground which is characterized by the shape of a mortar. Wandering around Kurkku Fields, people suddenly find the entrance to the library, using it to dive into the world and discover an unexpected realm driven by architecture and books.

japan underground library kurkku fields
images courtesy of Kurkku Fields and Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP | photos by Kohei Omachi and Yuka Yanazume

Filled with about 3,000 books

At the time it was opened on February 16, the underground library at Kurkku fields with Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP Architects houses about 3,000 books with a selection of books focused on nature and agricultural life, with a unique expansion and connection to poetry, philosophy, history, religion, science, and economics. Passing through the bookshelves reveals a hall with natural light coming in from the ceiling.

Guests staying at Villa Cocoon and other nearby accommodations can spend a night in the fantasy-like underground library in Japan, softly lit even after closing time. Just as plants and vegetables grow with microbes in the soil as nutrients, people go into the ground to read books, accumulate knowledge, cultivate the power of imagination, and step on the earth again to move forward into the future.

japan underground library kurkku fields

beams and columns disappear

The underground library is infiltrated with wooden elements to weave a harmonious continuity of tranquility during hours of reading. Architectural features such as beams and columns disappear to make way for the circular sunroof that evokes the appearance of mole holes. The height of the internal ceiling slopes as the elevation changes, and a small hidden room is carved into one of the spaces to offer privacy to the reader.

The floor, walls and ceiling have been given an earthy finish, and the grass injected into the vertical surface of the edge of the slab hangs down, giving the space a sense of moisture. This is a detail that allows gardeners to adjust the balance between irrigation and water retention depending on the season.

The design team, led by Hiroshi Nakamura with a selection of books by Yohei Kawakami, finds the heart of the underground library in the center of the earth’s core. They believe in the wonders of nature as the source of all life and the symbol of motherhood, which they all respect and honor. The value placed on the main daily resource of the people should be kept, and the design team puts their idea of ​​a peaceful place that is cultivated to allow people and living organisms to grow together with the knowledge of the readers.

japan underground library kurkku fields japan underground library kurkku fields japan underground library kurkku fields

project information:

name: An underground library

architects: Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP Architects

location: Kurkku Fields in 2503 Yana, Kisarazu City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

mat burgos | design boom

February 17, 2023

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