Nakagawa-machi Bato Hiroshige Museum of Art

Japan Tochigi Nakagawa
© Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Effectively utilizing its location at the foot of a mountain with mixed agricultural and natural terrain, the museum was designed as a "hole" that connects the pastoral mountain landscape and the town. We designed an approach called "Hiroshige Road" extending from the city center to the shrine at the foot of the mountain – thereby introducing an axis linking town and nature, the manmade and the natural – to reconnect the community with its rural surroundings. People are able to transit through this "hole" to reach the mountain, and the objective was to make it a part of the community's day-to-day life, not merely a mountain in the distance.
In terms of materials, we made extensive use of natural products from the region such as cedar, washi paper, and stone, and made a point of utilizing the artistry of local craftspeople.
The locally sourced Yamizo sugi cedar louvers covering the roof and walls were inspired by the representation of rain in Utagawa Hiroshige's masterpiece Sudden Shower over Shin-Ōhashi Bridge and Atake. Use of light-trans­missive louvers instead of walls makes the museum an inviting space that welcomes the community.
Architectural design: Kengo Kuma and Associates
Structural design: Aoki Structural Engineers
Facility design: P.T. Morimura and Associates
Contractor: Obayashi Corporation