Chikatsa-Asuka Historical Museum, Osaka, Japan
Tadao Ando

Wood and acrylic
9 x 68¼ x 33"

“The building is intended as a center for exhibiting and studying the culture of the Age of Tumuli, and my proposal was to create an environmental museum that incorporates not only the Tumuli scattered around the site but the natural environment of the burial mounds.” —Tadao Ando

Chikatsu-Asuka, an area in the southern part of Osaka Prefecture, has one of the best collections of tumuli (kofun) in Japan.

There are over 200 mounds including four imperial tombs, the site of the tomb of Prince Shotoku and the tomb of Ono-no-Imoko. It was an important place at the start of Japanese history.

The building has been conceived as a hill from which one can see the entire excavated area. The 60 meters wide and 12 meters long stone-paved roof is shaped like an enormous stairway which may be transformed into a stage, outdoor lecture hall or simply a wide viewing platform.

Ando’s use of concrete as a construction material recalls the work of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, his architectural mentors, yet he combines this preference with a Japanese aesthetic of contrast-light and dark, interior and exterior, enclosed and expansive, hard and soft, nature and city, east and west. —arcspace

(Photo: MoMA)