Earth Library

Tokyo, Japan, 2020

00 Concept
An earth library made from construction waste with the aim of reducing environmental impact

Built in the Japanese-style garden of the historic Western-style Kudan House, the Earth Library explores the possibilities of using construction debris in Tokyo. The artwork is based on the theme of avoiding the use of cement to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing and disposal in the construction industry.

In 2018, 132,63 million m3 of Japan’s construction soil was transported from construction sites, consuming significant amounts of energy and emitting CO2 through its transportation. If the construction industry could improve this situation, it would greatly reduce its environmental impact. This is a common challenge for construction projects throughout the world. In France, where the use of earth in modern architecture is progressing, things have reached a more practical stage. The leftover soil from their underground construction is being used for a redevelopment project in Paris.

The Earth Library is made with rammed earth (pisé) walls with reused soil from Tokyo’s construction work. Slaked lime, a natural material, was used to solidify the soil instead of cement. The library has a tiny space where one person can fit in, with an outer diameter of 1.7m. A bookshelf has been incorporated to make it easy to imagine having it in a living space. The round shape corresponds to the old well next to it and is intended to connect with the local spirit. It was decided not to roof the building on the assumption that weathering would become a part of the artwork. Six months later, the building is still in a good condition without having collapsed. This is a promising sign for the future of soil architecture.


© Ph. takeshi noguchi / Drawings, Tono Mirai architects

Architecture integrated into the landscape / Circulating Art / Circulation / Craftsmanship / Curved earthen walls / Earthen walls / Energy flow / Jinen / Not to bring in, not to take out / Rammed earth (pisé) / Reuse of construction waste / Sakan (plasterer)

Category — Art work (Library)
Construction Period — May 2020
Building Area — 1.38 ㎡
Total Floor Area — 1.38 ㎡
Floor number — 1st floor above ground
Structure — Rammed earth method