towada art center by ryue nishizawa is making the entire city one art space

ryue nishizawa
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in 2008, architect ryue nishizawa completed a contemporary art museum and cultural complex designed to revitalize the japanese city of towada.

in 2008, architect ryue nishizawa completed a contemporary art museum and cultural complex designed to revitalize the japanese city of towada. the institution, known as the towada art center, houses a permanent collection of 38 commissioned works, all created exclusively for the museum by renowned artists from japan and abroad, including ron mueck, yayoi kusama, and yoko ono. eights years after its opening, designboom takes a closer look at the cultural complex. images courtesy of towada art center.

as the towada art center works with the community to support a variety of cultural programs, it was important that the building remained as transparent and accessible as possible. ‘this building, as an integral part of the concept of transforming the entire kanchogaidori avenue into an art museum, inevitably needs to be open and approachable’, explains ryue nishizawa. ‘the activities happening within the building must continue seamlessly onto the street outside.’

to achieve this, the galleries have been divided into separate entities and randomly distributed throughout the facility. this allows indoor exhibition rooms to blend with outdoor art spaces. separating the galleries also enables each space to individually present its artwork, evoking a sense of intimacy and synchronicity within each room. this gesture was derived from towada’s kanchogaidori avenue, where the street’s buildings coexist with open space.

connected by glazed passageways, the assortment of pavilions includes permanent galleries, collaborative space, and a café, as well as other areas that incorporate the community into activities. the design also provides space for outdoor exhibitions and events, making it possible for visitors to simultaneously experience indoor and outdoor art.

the juxtaposition of solid and void, and large and small volumes, is continued throughout the building — allowing the architecture to exist in harmony with both smaller pieces of artwork, as well as the urban scale of the neighborhood. exhibition spaces with large glazed façades present the gallery’s work to passersby, reaffirming the museum’s vision that its art is intended for the entire city.

towada art center by ryue nishizawa is making the entire city one art space