ryue nishizawa opens hiroshi senju museum in japan
ryue nishizawa opens hiroshi senju museum in japan ryue nishizawa opens hiroshi senju museum in japan
nov 08, 2011

ryue nishizawa opens hiroshi senju museum in japan

japanese architect ryue nishizawa has completed ‘hiroshi senju museum karuizawa‘, a single-storey cultural facility on a lush site in karuizawa, japan. a collaborative effort with internationally recognized japanese artist hiroshi senju, the museum seeks to harmoniously link the exhibited art with the surrounding landscape within a naturally illuminated space.

interior view of gallery space
image © daici ano, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa (also main image)



housing a wide collection of the artist’s work from 1978 to the present day, the museum utilizes the natural elements of the site as a backdrop to the pieces displayed. the floor gently follows the pre-existing contours of the land, subtly swelling and dipping throughout the gallery. a series of organically-shaped light wells puncture through the roof, injecting pockets of greenery within the interior. deeps eaves, silver screens, and UV-cut glass panels control the amount of daylight intake while allowing in the qualities of the forest.

image © daici ano, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa



sitting between the parking lot and the museum is the ‘color leaf garden’ which acts as a natural buffer zone for visitors. extensively planted with 60,000 plants of 150 varieties, the changing palette of the leaves will have an active role in the atmosphere of the gallery within.

curvilinear light well
image © daici ano, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

image © daici ano, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

seating area
image © daici ano, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

image © daici ano, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

image © daici ano, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

‘waterfall’ by hiroshi senju, 1996
image © hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

‘falling color’ by hiroshi senju, 2005
image © hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

aerial view of physical model
image © office of ryue nishizawa, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa

elevation view
image © office of ryue nishizawa, hiroshi senju museum karuizawa



project info:


design and supervision: office of ryue nishizawa
construction: shimizu corporation and sasazawa construction
building structure: steel frame construction, reinforced concrete
total floor area: 1818.42 sqm
exhibition space: 1490.51 sqm
museum office: 128.16 sqm
gallery: 199.75 sqm

  • Not crazy about Senju’s art, he so often misses, but this is one heckuva museum. Kudos to Nishizawa. The art jostles with perfect nature in gentle, contemplative tension. Any good artist would look terrific in this space — while problematic artists will suffer. That’s a sound working definition of good museum design: It helps the viewer separate real art from pretend.

    Tom P says:
  • huge inspiration of the rolex learning center by sanaa in Lausanne, Switzerland!

    but still nice, and very fluid!

    macile says:
  • sublime. beautiful.

    not sure about the sloping seats.

    Matt says:
  • ryue nishizawa is also co-founder of SANAA along with kazuyo sejima

    bryan says:

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