The new Oita Prefectural Art Museum, designed by Shigeru Ban Architects, defies the traditional white-box architecture of many art museums to create a space that is a work of art in itself. The architects considered the local climate when designing the structure, which features 20-foot-high glass panels on the street level that can be opened to embrace the environment. On the second level, a timber lattice facade honors local materials and building techniques while adding visual warmth to the structure.
Located in the capital city of Kyushu Prefecture, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, the building sits opposite the Oasis 21 tower, to which it is linked via a pedestrian bridge. The building looks like two stacked volumes wrapped in a timber lattice. The wood facade is made from local cedar, which references traditional local bamboo construction techniques.
The ground floor is open to the public, while the second floor houses the cafe and the main exhibition areas. The upper floors look like they’re floating, while the triaxial weave of the ceiling references Frei Otto‘s structures and the Centre Pompidou Metz for which similar designed principles were used.