Shiga Museum of Art


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About Architecture

The architectural features of the museum are as follows.

  • The museum is located in a park, with a Japanese garden (designed by Ito Kunie) adjacent on the north side.
  • The building housing Gallery 1 (509㎡) and Gallery 2 (360㎡), the building housing Gallery 3 (996㎡), and the building housing the Gallery 4 (478㎡) are connected by glass corridors.
  • Sculptures by Alexander Calder, Donald Judd and others are installed in the courtyard surrounded by corridors and the garden on the north side.
  • The external wall is made with Shigaraki stoneware ceramic tiles.

The building was designed by Nikken Sekkei Ltd., with Kokado Toru of the Osaka office as project leader. Other museums he was involved in designing include the Sen-oku Hakukokan Museum, completed in 1970, and the Kurayoshi Museum completed in 1973. The firm was chosen through a competition, with the outline of the process as follows.

May 29, 1979
Planning Committee for Construction of Shiga Prefectural Museum of Modern Art established to examine the museum’s basic characteristics and main activities. Committee members include Inui Yoshiaki (Professor, Kyoto University), Honda Masayoshi (Director, The National Museum of Art, Osaka), Masuda Yohei (Deputy Director, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art). Other appointees included representatives of art groups in the prefecture such as the Prefectural Art Association, Prefectural Art Group, Hachibikai, and Citizens’ Gallery, and others.
November 20, 1979
Committee issues Report on Shiga Prefectural Museum.Section 4: Construction Site states, “In constructing an art museum, we will adhere to a basic stance of respect for humanity and the will to give peace to hearts and minds through interaction between people and the natural environment, and endeavor to make the best possible use of the natural environment and greenery to create a museum that boasts unparalleled natural beauty. The planned site is on sloping ground, and the building should be a unique one that makes optimal use of the terrain. In doing so, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Oakland Museum of California will serve as useful references.”
May 14, 1980
Shiga Prefectural Museum (provisional name) Construction Committee established. Committee consists of Inui Yoshiaki, Shiraishi Hirozo (Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Institute of Technology), Takao Ryoichi (former head of the Imperial Palace Construction Department, Imperial Household Agency), Nakamura Hajime (Professor, Kyoto University), and Honjo Hirokazu (Director, Department of Culture, Shiga Prefectural Board of Education). The committee first narrows the field down to eight firms, referring to past achievements. Next, a questionnaire covering 10 items is sent to the eight firms, and prefectural art museum design project interviews are conducted.
January 13, 1981
Interview results are examined, and three firms are selected as candidates: Nikken Sekkei Ltd., Nihon Sekkei, Inc., and Okada Architect & Associates.
January 24, 1981
Prefectural Museum of Art (provisional name) Design Competition Judging Committee established. The judges are Murano Togo, Ashihara Yoshinobu, Urabe Shizutaro, etc..
March 11, 1981
Design competition initiated.
June 10, 1981
Design materials for competition submitted.
June 18, 1981
Nikken Sekkei proposal selected by the judging committee. The architecture magazine Shinkenchiku (Vol. 56, No. 5) praises the Shiga Prefectural Museum of Modern Art design competition, involving questionnaires and interviews, as “the ideal local government design competition.”
August 21, 1981
Design commissioned.
December 25, 1981
Design completed.
February 16, 1982
Construction bidding carried out.
March 18, 1982
Construction work ordered from the Takenaka-Sasakawa Construction Joint Venture.
September 30, 1983
Construction work completed. Building “left to dry” for approximately one year.
August 26, 1984
The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga opens.

Over the more than 30 years since then, various renewal measures have been carried out, such as updating galleries and facilities to current standards required for museums, and renovation work such as improving the children’s space and laboratory. Among these, the firm graf, a creative unit based in Osaka handled design supervision and interior design, particularly of the area near the entrance known as the Welcome Zone. UMA / design farm handled VI (visual identity) and sign design. Lighting, benches, tiles in the café and shop, and guidance signs were produced by NOTA & design, based in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture, and Shigaraki ceramic was used.