JAPAN’s ART ISLANDS celebrate 30 years


benesse art site naoshima—the large-scale art project covering three japanese islands—will see a new gallery designed by tado ando open in march 2022. located on the island of naoshima, ‘valley gallery’ is the ninth building by the pritzker prize-winning architect for the initiative.


valley gallery will be opened next year alongside ‘hiroshi sugimoto gallery time corridor’, an expanded exhibition space for hiroshi sugimoto‘s works at benesse house park. the inauguration of these two new galleries will mark 30 years since the opening of benesse art museum, which was the first facility of benesse art site naoshima and was also designed by tadao ando.

tadao ando designs trapezoid shaped gallery for japanese art island
image by katsuyoshi yano



as its name illustrates, the new gallery is located in a valley surrounded by mountains on three sides. it’s positioned between benesse house and chichu art museum, and faces onto lee ufan museum. based on the image of a shrine, tadao ando’s design is composed of a trapezoid-shaped floor plan topped with an angular roof, which cracks open to create a semi-outdoor space. the architecture also features ando’s signature use of concrete. the development of valley gallery includes the landscaping of the surrounding outdoor space to connect the other museum facilities which are scattered in nature.


inside and outside the building, yayoi kusama’s ‘narcissus garden’ is exhibited on a large scale, and tsuyoshi ozawa’s ‘slag buddha 88-toyoshima’s industrial waste treated slag’ has been permanently exhibited next to the pond since 2006. the 88 buddhas will also be partially modified so visitors can experience the resonance of nature, architecture, and art more deeply.

tadao ando designs trapezoid shaped gallery for japanese art island
image by katsuyoshi yano



a space as strong as a crystal SAYS TADAO ANDO


‘the project started by confirming the site with soichiro fukutake and others. then, we decided on a beautiful place surrounded by a slope covered with azaleas in the early spring, in a corner of the valley leading to kuraura, where the lee ufan museum is located,’  said tadao ando about the new gallery.


he continued, ‘the building has a trapezoidal plane that opens at 30 degrees depending on the terrain. the double-layered building with concrete walls is covered with a 12 mm thick steel roof. the iron plate has openings made by geometric operations such as shifting and cutting, and the natural breathing such as rain, wind, and light is taken into the inside of the building as it is. I wanted to create a space that is as strong as a crystal, even if it is small.’

tadao ando designs trapezoid shaped gallery for japanese art island
image by shintaro miyawaki



project info:


name: valley gallery

location: benesse art site naoshima, japan

architecture: tadao ando architect & associates