toyo ito imagines roof funnels for minna-no-mori gifu media cosmos toyo ito imagines roof funnels for minna-no-mori gifu media cosmos
jan 09, 2014

toyo ito imagines roof funnels for minna-no-mori gifu media cosmos

toyo ito imagines roof funnels for minna-no-mori gifu media cosmos





at the 2013 business of design week forum (BODW) in hong kong, toyo ito took to the stage to discuss the limitations of modernism in architecture, which sees the exclusion of: nature, the specific associations between places, and regional history and culture. to elaborate on this theme, the pritzker prize winning architect proposed his ideas for ‘tomorrow’s architecture’ which he suggests should: blur boundaries; utilize natural energy and materials; change traditional building geometries; and create differentiations between places. in doing so, he used the ‘minna no mori gifu media cosmos’ (tentative title), which his firm is currently working on in the gifu prefecture of japan, to elaborate on his theories.

model of the funneled canopies hanging over the center’s library




constructed as a low building, the cultural center’s main program is a library that is characterized by roof funnels that define reading, resting and study zones. these ‘globes’ are curved, three-dimensional polyester shades that are thin in weight in order to allow light to filter through them into the spaces below.


at the heart of the first floor (90 x 80 m) there is a glass enclosure that houses shelves and a gallery. on the second floor, one finds the open library that is organized by a series of wooden spiral bookcases which dictate circulation through the space. the arrangement of furniture is also placed in circular formations further emphasizing the helical plan.

view of helical circulation below one of the funnels

work areas





on the exterior, one approaches the ‘gifu media cosmos’ via a large piazza with the entrance into the building indicated by a volume that mimics the ‘globes’ within. designed to integrate sustainable technologies and materials, the main rooftop structure is a composition of latticed wood, with the openings between allowing natural light to flood into the the interior. the ‘globes’ assist in this — not only providing visual interest — their shape also serving a practical function, whereby the sun bounces off their shell at particular angles to disperse solar gain more evenly throughout the internal areas. toyo ito has also employed a green heating and cooling system in the construction of the ‘gifu media cosmos’ as seen through the application of a two-layer floor which utilizes water to heat the ground.

adjacent park



surrounded by a park, with a river nearby, toyo ito’s ‘gifu media cosmos’ is a universe of its own, blending a contemporary aesthetic with pragmatic purpose, providing locals with an emotional and enlightening experience upon engagement with the architecture.

toyo ito presenting the ‘minna-no-mori gifu media cosmos’ at BODW 2013
image © designboom

first floor plan of the ‘minna-no-mori gifu media cosmos’ being explained by toyo ito
image © designboom

2nd floor plan of ‘minna-no-mori gifu media cosmos’ 
image © designboom 

diagram indicating the use of solar energy in the building

construction of the undulating wood lattice roof

  • the columns are virtually duplicates of Wright’s Johnson Wax Offices

    dbkii says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news