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Japan Women’s University Campus

Flexible renovation and transformation

Kazuyo Sejima & Associates

Japan Women’s University Campus
By Diana Carta -
AGC Flat Glass has participated in the project

In 2021, Japan Women’s University in Tokyo launched a campus renovation plan to mark its 120th anniversary. The practice led by Kazuyo Sejima was involved in three projects: a new library, a student cafeteria, and a building housing classrooms and laboratories. Although distinct facilities, they are part of an interrelated architectural whole that blends effortlessly into its urban surroundings for the benefit of all users. Located close to the entrances, the new library and student cafeteria redefine the access points to the original campus while the new – centrally placed – teaching and study wing is now the learning focal point of this all-women’s university. 
The composition and social narrative of the individual buildings are posited on an articulated weave of indoor and outdoor spaces affording varying degrees of privacy and contact between these three key campus locations. Although located along Mejiro Dori, a major neighborhood thoroughfare, the library is shielded from the street by a single-level structure, a small welcoming filter between the bustling city and the calm hush of a temple to the written word. On the exterior, the library stands out for the sloping slabs of exposed concrete along its elevation: circulation walkways across the building. One of these perimeter ramps leads to the second-level entrance. Also extending through different levels, the extensive glazing allows natural light to penetrate far into the interiors: the closed off environments, internal terraces, and the huge central void where a staircase provides a vertical circulation system fostering interconnection and socialization as occupants move from floor to floor searching for books. 
Spatial fluidity is the keynote of this functional program. Where appropriate, however, spatial delineation is subtle, achieved with a series of shielding and screening elements – glazing, perforated metal sheets and tall curtains, each...

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