Tucked away on a beautiful rice-terraced hillside in Japan lies a softly undulating structure; a droplet of white concrete nestled in the soil. This is the Teshima Art Museum—a curving concrete space that lives harmoniously with the island environment of Teshima Island. But unlike traditional museums, you won’t find priceless artwork hanging from the walls or stunning modern art standing in the room. At the Teshima museum, the building itself is the art that visitors come to appreciate.
The shape of the building mirrors that of a drop of water, created out of a thin concrete slab that rises up gently before curving back down to the earth. Two elliptical openings on either side of the museum allow the elements to create a natural art inside the space, including dripping rainwater that pools on the museum floor. As the water beads and slides across the structure during the day, another layer of art is added to the building’s structure. The walls themselves are just shy of 10 inches thick, giving the entire building a sense of delicacy amid the concrete.
The low ceiling and natural curves make the museum look like a part of the landscape and, inside the structure, viewers can choose to wander cocooned from the elements or under the open sky. The museum hosts just one piece of art inside: a sculpture called “Matrix” by artist Rei Naito. The museum opened in 2010 for the Setouchi International Art Festival.
Images courtesy of Iwan Baan