MORE ABOUT: Sendai Mediatheque – Sendai, Japan
2-1, Kasuga-machi, Aoba-ku
Architect: Toyo Ito & Associates
Structural Engineer: Sasaki Structural Consultants
Mechanical Engineers: ES Associates, Sogo Consultants, and Otaki E&M Consultants
Light Design: Light Design Inc.
General Contractor: JV of Kumagi, Takenaka, Ando, and Hashimoto
Site Area: 3,948.72 m2
Building Area: 2,933.12 m2
Total Floor Area: 21, 682.15 m2
The Sendai Mediatheque serves as a library, visual media center, and gallery space in downtown Sendai. The concept behind the building can be broken down into three elements: plate, tube, and skin. “Plate” refers to the floors of the mediatheque, “tube” to the structural columns, and “skin” to the glass curtain wall facade .
Original concept of “plate, tube, and skin”
The south facade features a “double skin” of glass with vents to reduce energy costs. “Opening the vents in the summer creates a cooling updraft; closing vents in winter creates an insulating layer of air to seal in heat” . Additionally, the hollow tubes bring in light from the top of the mediatheque’s canopy down into the lower floors.
A schematic of the “double skin” ventilation and light dispersion through hollow structural tubes.
One of the hollow structural columns doubling as a light source
View of the three main elements of the mediatheque: “plate, tube, and skin.” Note that the structural tubes pierce the top of the building and end in a canopy.
The thirteen irregularly shaped structural tubes of the mediatheque house all of the buildings systems including HVAC, electric, network cables, stairs, and elevators which provides a seamless interface between the “tubes”, “plates”, and “skin”. The four largest 240mm diameter tubes situated on each corner take most of the load and “provide the necessary seismic bracing.” 
Evolution of irregular column design
The “tubes” and “plates” comprise the entire structural system of the building, with “thirteen independent steel-ribbed shafts (tubular columns: mainly steel-tube truss construction) and seven steel-ribbed ‘honeycomb’ slabs of sandwiched steel-plate construction. The basement also features seismic energy-absorbing mechanisms.” 
Computer-generated model and elevation detailing the “plates” and “tubes”
Case Study by: Evan Reschreiter
ARE 320K, Fall 2010
 Ito, Toyo. Toyo Ito: 1970-2001. Tokyo: A.D.A Edita, 2001. 190. Print.
 “Sendai Mediatheque – Architectural Features.” Sendai Mediatheque. N.p., 2002. Web. 13 Sep 2010.
 Webb, Michael. “Layered Media.” Architectural Review. 220.1256 (2001): 46-51. Print.