More than an art museum, Shigeru Ban creates community space for Japanese city

by Jason Holland | 26 Jun 2015

Architect Shigeru Ban’s newly-opened art museum in Japan has been designed to serve as an outside space to be freely used by all – connecting the interior galleries to the surrounding city area.

Oita Prefectural Art Museum (OPAM) features a collection of more than 5,000 works by Japanese painters and sculptors, and is touted as a museum of encounters and of the five senses. It is located in the city of Oita in southern Japan.

The three-floor cubic structure is wrapped with a wooden latticed façade, a nod to the area’s traditional bamboo crafts.

“I made this art museum into a straightforward cubic shape, as architecture that is an extension of the office area street framework,” said Ban, who received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2014. “Although by opening the front facing mobile glass folding doors, a space is created where interior is connected with exterior.”

The museum hopes to become a cultural hub in Oita, becoming a daily part of life for the local community, with a cafe space and vast foyer that can be used for site-specific installations and as a meeting area.

Museum director Ryu Niimi’s ambition was to create a place “where the art of the world and the culture of Oita collide”. He said: “If you are not determined to build something unique, and like nothing else, to exist only in Oita, then it is meaningless.”

Architect Shigeru Ban’s newly-opened art museum in Japan has been designed to serve as an outside space to be freely used by all – connecting the interior galleries to the surrounding city area. Oita Prefectural Art Museum (OPAM) features a collection of more than 5,000 works by Japanese painters and sculptors, and is touted as a museum of encounters and of the five senses. It is located in the city
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Pritzker Architecture Prize recipient Shigeru Ban designed the museum / Shigeru Ban Architects
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