Japanese Home with Earthquake Proof Climbable Bookshelf

Designed by Japanese architect Shinsuke Fujii, House in Shinyoshida is a small, contemporary home with a slanted wall, situated in a hillside neighborhood of Yokohama, Japan. Incorporated into the western-facing diagonal wall is a prominent floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, that you can climb.

The design is a bookworm’s dream come true. The bookshelf is laid out in a simple grid-like form, with inviting furniture pieces around the room, and plenty of natural light coming in through large windows. The bookcase acts as a design focal point, but it’s integral to the structural stability of the home. Reinforced with concrete and wood, it extends onto an upper level, which features a sunlit lounge.

Accessing the high shelves can traditionally be a problem, the common side-kick has always been ladders. But for smaller homes like in Japan they can be a nuisance, so the shelf itself became the ladder. This also ensures that the books won’t spill out in the event of an earthquake, which is common in this part of Japan.

The House in Shinyoshida is named for the neighborhood in Yokohama where it stands. It was conceived shortly after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. The client, who happened to be an avid book lover, approached Fujii with the task to design a home around a large bookshelf that’s both easily accessible but also one that won’t spill all the books if there is ever another tremor.