Readers concerned about the condition of Toyo Ito's Mediatheque in Sendai after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 can check out a March 18 article in The Japan Times. The article looks at a number of museums and cultural properties affected by the disasters and states that, "Sendai Mediatheque, though still standing, is currently deemed too dangerous to enter."
A remarkable video taken inside the Mediatheque during the earthquake shows the building performing well — with a ceiling moving independently of the structure (as it was designed to do in such an emergency) and interior glass walls remaining intact. Most important, no one seems to have been seriously injured in the building.
Dana Buntrock, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and has written about Japanese architecture, adds that, the Mediatheque "has a set of ductile bolts that connect the structure to the foundation at the B1 parking-garage floor and serve as an early form of a damper." Referring to the irregularly angled structural tubes that snake up through the building and sit on the ductile bolts, she states that they "will. . . need to be reset and re-bolted, as they have been at least once before."
Construction photos of the Mediatheque by Akira Suzuki show the ductile bolts that connect the structural tubes to the building's foundation.
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