Located in a mountain village beside a man-made lake two and a half hours' drive north of Tokyo, the Tomihiro Museum is dedicated to the work of local poet-illustrator Tomihiro Hoshino. Since 1991, when the Museum first opened on the refurbished premises of a disused home for the elderly, an average of more than 1000 persons a day have made the trip here, for a ten-year total of over 4 million visitors—a surprising number considering the remote location. A decade on, the Museum was long overdue for new quarters. An international design competition was held in 2002, and 1211 entries were received from 53 countries (637 entries from Japan, 574 from abroad)—again a surprising number. Short-listed entrants from among the many submissions were then interviewed, and our design proposal was selected: a grouping of small circular rooms inspired by soap bubbles.
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