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E2257e – Completion of Storage Annex at Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library

The original article published in Japanese ( )

Current Awareness-E No.390

14 May, 2020

Completion of Storage Annex at Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library

The National Diet Library collects all publications published in Japan based on the Legal Deposit System. Collected materials are dispersedly preserved in three facilities: Tokyo Main Library (storage capacity: 12 million volumes), main building of Kansai-kan (storage capacity: 6 million volumes), and International Library of Children’s Literature (storage capacity: 1.05 million volumes). Securing storage space to respond to increasing number of collections is a key issue for NDL. After 18 years since the opening of Kansai-kan in 2002, and with storage capacities of stacks at both Tokyo Main Library and Kansai-kan approaching its limit, “Kansai-kan Storage Annex” (hereafter “storage annex”) was constructed on the southern ground of Kansai-kan main building (hereafter “main building”) as part of construction of the second phase facilities of the Kansai-kan. The construction was completed in February 2020.

Storage annex is a building with a basement and seven floors. It has a total floor area of approximately 25,000 square kilometers with storage capacity of about 5 million volumes. Design work was launched in the fiscal year of 2014 and construction began in September 2016. Construction lasted for three and a half years. As its name “storage annex” shows, the building is specialized to stacks. Various measures are taken to preserve materials, and its external design takes into consideration the surrounding landscape.

This article describes the architectural characteristics of storage annex.

●External Features

The height of storage annex is 26.47 meters. By keeping it lower than the main building and by aligning the widths of the buildings, storage annex is placed in association with the main building. Adopted for external walls are fieldstones that image the color of stones of landscape falls found in the exterior of the main building. This was a consideration for dignity as stacks as well as coordination with green scenery.

Part of the walls from the first to fifth floor on the northern side of storage annex – directly opposite from glass cubes of the main building – consist of glass, adopting a design that presents an image of continuity of glass from the main building through storage annex. This adds another feature of realizing natural lighting while ensuring the function of stacks.

The biggest feature of its appearance is the design of east and west walls. The motif of its design is “head” and “tail edge” of a book, representing an image where materials and information increase as stacks (photo 1).

●Internal Features

The first floor through sixth floor of storage annex is used as stack space. The basement is machine room, and the seventh floor is fan room. In the center of the building is a stairwell and stack space are located to its left and right (east and west). Walls of the elevator, installed next to the stairwell, is made of glass, providing bright open space in stacks that tend to be closed.

Installed bookshelves are compact shelving with handwheels (except for some fixed shelving). There are mainly two types – one for books, magazines, and journals, and another for newspapers – with differences in width and the number of shelves (width of 900 millimeters for the former, 1350 millimeters for the latter).

Adopted for side panels of bookshelves is a punching panel with holes to allow good ventilation and to suppress growth of molds. Another feature is the colors of side panels with cool colors for northern stacks (deep blue and light blue) and warm colors for southern stacks (yellow and pink). This arrangement helps staff recognize his or her location in stacks with no windows (photo 2).

●Consideration for Environment Inside Stacks

Temperature and humidity inside stacks follow those set for the stacks of the main building to preserve important materials longer. Considering the most appropriate environment for preservation of materials, the stack room temperature is kept at 22 degrees Celsius (±2 degrees) and humidity of 55 percent (±5 percent) throughout the year. There is also a “buffer-zone” with double buffers between external wall and stack rooms, designed to reduce direct influence of external temperature.

Following stacks in the main building, storage annex has adopted a facility that uses inactive gas (nitrogen gas) as fire extinguishing equipment, not sprinklers that use water. Materials will thus not suffer water damage in case of emergencies. Injection of nitrogen gas will bring down oxygen density to about 11 percent and extinguish fire.

As described, this stylish building integrates architectural design at a high dimension while maintaining its function as stacks. Materials are to be installed in storage annex as soon as preparation is completed.

Written by Kansai-Kan Administrative Division
Translated by Okada Aya

Photo 1

Photo 2

*Notes are not being translated and remain in Japanese language.

“関西館書庫棟完成!”. 国立国会図書館月報. 2020, (708), 巻頭1 p. 1.
“平成26年11月 国立国会図書館建築委員会が国会に対し関西館第2期施設(第1段階)の建設を勧告”. 国立国会図書館.