Concrete Forest and Gallery Boxes Arts Maebashi Competition Proposal

2011 -


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.
principal use museum
total floor area 2,970m2
structure reinforced concrete
1 basement and 2 stories