This is a competition proposal for conversion of a large commercial building, formerly housing a department store, into an art museum, retaining the existing frame of the building. I interpreted the existing building frame as a “forest,” interspersed with boxes containing the museum galleries, the RC (reinforced concrete)-frame galleries clinging to the SRC (steel reinforced concrete) column-beam structure like tree houses on the trunks and branches of trees. Each box features a different wood with a different texture and appearance: cedar, hinoki cypress, chestnut, hiba cypress, ash, zelkova, serving as exterior cladding for the RC permanent forms. The exterior around these white-cube galleries is a single large space serving as a social interaction area, open to the community so that the joy of the interior spills out into the exterior. A horizontal line of flow goes around the three-tiered interior in which columns and beams criss-cross, its entirety becoming a “crucible for art.” The distinctive column and beam structure is a signifier enabling visitors to discern the “arboreal” nature of the place. This is a museum that requires no map to navigate. The columns and beams serve to demarcate and determine appropriate positions for the white-cube galleries, the opposite of the usual format. Each individual gallery derives its identity from its shape and relationship to the columns and beams, for instance “the low-ceiling gallery containing three columns” or “the high-ceiling gallery with two columns and one beam running through it.” The overall nested-box configuration enables control of the galleries’ heat and light environments, for example by placing windows in the galleries to let in indirect light.
|location||Maebashi City, Gunma Pref.|
|total floor area||2,970m2|
1 basement and 2 stories