House of Shelves

Now, I love books as much as the next guy… wait, no, I love books more than the next guy. Even so, I find myself somewhat aghast at the prospect of living in a house made entirely of bookshelves.

Pictured above is a “Shelf-pod” house in Osaka, Japan. And it can hold up to 10 tons of books. From the Yahoo! Real Estate website:

Floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall shelving defines a compact, 557-square-foot home in Osaka prefecture, Japan, designed by Japanese Architect Kazuya Morita…

The shelving had to be strong enough to support the entire house. “This is an unusual structure. I never experienced this kind of architecture,” said Morita, who declined to disclose the cost to build the house. Numerous tests and experiments were run on models to ensure the structural integrity and convince city planning officials to issue a building permit. The home’s exterior features a painted clay and bamboo wall, with cedar exterior wall plate. The interior is finished with plaster.

“It can support 10 tons of books,” said Morita, who opened his architecture studio in 2000. And, he added, “it can survive earthquakes.”

The shelving even extends into the home’s bathroom, covering a wall above the toilet and bathtub. 

(Click here to read the full article)

Innovative, I admit. Compact, too. And I have little doubt that it’s rather something to live surrounded by hundreds of millions of words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages. I’m just not sure I’d enjoy living in so thoroughly “bookish” an abode.

For one thing, wall-upon-wall of shelving leaves no room to display swords, firearms, or hunting trophies. I’d want a place to hang pictures, paintings and maps, and somewhere to stash my ammo, grenades, and timed explosives. Also on my list of essentials would be a study and a writing desk, fully equipped with pens and plenty of paper. As a writer, I say, What’s the good in reading a million books if you can’t write and put all that learning to use?

For another thing, the house hardly looks able to withstand any major crisis, despite what Mr. Morita claims. You couldn’t effectively fortify it with all the shelving in the way, and it would be most difficult to defend. An earthquake is one thing. But when the zombie apocalypse strikes, what are you going to do? Throw books at the undead? Tell them they should be devouring good literature instead of human flesh? Pardon me while I scoff. 

And lastly, can you imagine – can you in any way, shape, or form comprehend – how long it must take to dust all those shelves?

That is all.

18 thoughts on “House of Shelves”

  1. It’s a very cool design but probably not the most practical. I’d have to bunny proof all the lower lying shelves to keep the rabbits from snacking on the books, as they have a preference for older, finely-aged ones. And as for the dusting… no thank you!

  2. Wow. Interesting. I think it is kind of a cool design to look at, but definitely not living in! One thing I loved/laughed at was that the table/desk on the lower level served as a floor on the upper level!! Weird…….

    “…..and somewhere to stash my ammo, grenades, and timed explosives….” HAHA!! Josh totally would love and agree with that! =D

    Yeah, I was a little skeptical about it surviving an earthquake… Not a whole lot can survive an earthquake, let alone a shelfy house! lol! But, I do have to say that it looks really cool……

  3. You could stash your ammo behind a couple of small mass-market paperback books. The grenades are another matter, and the timed explosives…ehh, well, you could put those on a high shelf. :-)

    Plus, when the zombie apocalypse happens, you can grab all of your zombie apocalypse survival guides!

    Seriously, awesome as that would be, (if it were filled with books) it is quite impractical. I doubt Spurgeon had that and he had a huge library. My question, where do I put my guitar?

    1. Yeah, but you still haven’t solved the problem of where to hang swords, guns, and hunting trophies… ;)

      I’m at a loss as to where yuo could safely store a guitar. Bummer. My brother would be asking the same question. :)

      1. Guns and hunting trophies…guns and hunting trophies…Guns could go in a freestanding gun cabinet and the hunting trophies, (if they have a plaque backing to them) could be screwed in front of a shelf. Not only is it displayed, it also conceals whatever is on the shelf behind, it, perhaps where you could hide those timed explosives. I have no idea why I just thought of all that. :-D

  4. I thought building me a house of books for me was going to be your summer project? Just make sure there’s room for my tea cups, notebooks, pens, stationery….

    Where did you get your sense of humor, my son? :)

    I love you!

  5. My point exactly! Just who would dust all those cubicles? As for the zombie apocalypse, I’m still cautiously evaluating you, my friend. There seems to be recurring references to well-read brains, and what’s up with the swords, firearms, ammo, grenades, timed explosives, and brainy humor? Hmmm!

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