The city of Komatsu in Japan has a fabulous new museum that visitors can explore inside and out. Designed by Urban Architecture Office's Mari Ito, the Science Hills Komatsu integrates architecture and landscape with concrete canopies topped by grass. As well as providing additional insulation for the expansive museum, the green hills can be used as an undulating public park.
Located in a former factory site, the architects’ aim was to create a building that could bring back an interest in, and pay homage to science and industry. A museum, communications centre and archive all in one, its design comes from merging architecture and landscape with its green roofed hills that can be freely climbed — bare foot!. Mainly built from reinforced concrete, this unique learning building has an industrial feel but also serves as a public park.
As well as additional insulation to the interiors, “the rooftop curve serves as a sweeping canopy controlling light and also drains rain water into a reservoir for planting irrigation.” said Ito. There is also an auditorium under a dome, and the main exhibition space is located beneath one of its largest waves. During the night the spectacular museum is transformed by hundreds of colorful, wind-sensitive LEDs lights that recreate the air movements that flow through its curves.
Photos by Daici Ano