Mecenat Art Museum / naf architect & design

© Noriyuki Yano

Architects: naf architect & design
Location: , Prefecture,
Design Team: Tetsuya Nakazono
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Noriyuki Yano

Project Area: 99.55 sqm
Site Area: 344.57
Total Floor Area: 191.24

Interview provided by naf architect & design

1a. How did you obtain this project? Who is the client and what did he ask you?

The name of the client is Mr. Kanji KATO who owns a dental clinic in Higashi Hiroshima city and studies Japanese-style painting as a hobby.  His teacher is Mr. Kakudo GOAMI, a Japanese-style painter and a honorary president of Hiroshima Japanese-style painting Association, who has received numerous awards.  Mr. KATO had been planning a museum of Kakudo GOAMI with the hope of exhibiting the works of Mr. GOAMI to a greater public.  Mr. KATO had seen my project, FLAT FORM, a commercial complex built several years ago, and considered that I was a optimal candidate for the architect of the museum.

© Noriyuki Yano

1b. Is it a private museum or open to everybody? What exactly is on show inside?

This is a museum funded and owned personally by Mr. KATO, but anyone can come and see. All the works exhibited there are those of Mr. Kakudo GOAMI, owned either by the artist himself or Mr. KATO, thus, many of which had not been exhibited in public museums.

© Noriyuki Yano

2a. Please tell about the design proces. How did you come to this final shape?

The works of Mr. GOAMI give striking image of various lights, thus, I decided to design the building focusing on natural light.  Soft diffused light from top light, direct light pouring  from top light through white cylinder for condensation of light spreading on the first floor, soft light from slits on the walls reflecting on the exterior green, fragments of graphical lights pouring through 432 plate glasses on the concrete walls; the space is filled with various kinds of lights.  As an exhibition space, there was no need for structure such as columns and beams but as large wall as possible.  The important factor of the museum was to incorporate natural light and wind, so corners are sliced with slits to the extent which would not interfere the exhibit.  This idea would have left the building structurally fragile, so we studied a rational shape, which was structurally stable like folding one sheet of paper, origami, many time to make several corners, with models and three-dimensional structure analysis by computer.

© Noriyuki Yano

2b. What is the relation between the museumbuilding and its surroundings? What kind of neighbourhood is this museum standing?

The site is found in a calm and peaceful rural scene, where it became completely dark at night with no streetlights.  This building is automatically lit up when it becomes dark, softly casting light to the surrounding.  It became a landmark of the area.   

© Noriyuki Yano

3. What is the relation between the object on display (Japanese-style painting) and the architectural space?

Please refer to the response of 2a.

© Noriyuki Yano

4. What makes this museum different from a regular museum?

I focused on taking in as much factors from natural environment as possible in the exhibition space.  Artificial lights in the exhibition space are limited to the minimum.  The works are basically viewed with natural light which changes throughout the year, giving different impression by the weather of the day and time of the year.  The exhibition space is intentionally designed to be susceptible to the natural environment.

© Noriyuki Yano

5. What impression do you hope the visitors obtain after visiting the building?

I would like the visitors to feel, with their entire bodies, through this building, atmosphere of profundity and gentleness created by the paintings of Mr. Kakudo GOAMI, which is based on noble spirit of Orient in the changes of four seasons unique in Japan.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Mecenat Art Museum / naf architect & design" 26 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>