Architectural Design That Blends into the Hakone Forest

The height of the museum facility was limited to eight meters to avoid exceeding the height of the trees in the forest. Thorough surveys of the topography and water currents were conducted before any blueprints were drawn up. As a result, the building exerts only the most minimal effect on the plant ecosystem. The museum architecture strives to create a symbiosis between nature and art. The interior is also filled with an abundance or light and greenery. All of the light in the galleries has been carefully calculated to show the works in the most beautiful manner and gently protect them at the same time. You can enjoy looking at the art as if you were standing inside a forest. This is the kind of experience that we have strived to achieve with this design.

01Toward Architecture in Which Nature and Technology Are One

The architectural design began by learning about the natural environment in Hakone. Thorough surveys of the fauna and flora, topography, and water currents on the expansive site were conducted before any blueprints were drawn up. This resulted in the present building, which does not harm the area’s plant ecosystem and only exerts the most minimal effect on the natural environment. The structure is buried almost entirely below ground, and its height does not exceed that of the trees. After digging a circular trench with a diameter of 74 meters into the gently sloping lot, workers installed a rubber seismic-isolation apparatus. This structure was designed to protect both the people and the artworks from earthquakes and humidity. The trench also functions to protect an underground water vein, and ensures a safe amount of pressure on the soil. Every part of the building can be accessed, enabling it to be perpetually maintained. Our aim was to create a building that would be loved by people for many years in the future while also forming a long-term symbiosis with nature.

02Our Museum Is Made of Light and Greenery

The instant you step inside the museum, you are greeted by beautiful greenery. There in front of you is a a sublime view of Mt. Kozuka through the massive windows. Natural light constantly pours into the atrium lobby, which stands at the center of the museum, extending from the second basement to the second floor of the building. It is like a huge screen, depicting a wide range of expressions generated by the light as it constantly changes with the movement of the sun. When you are inside the building, you have a sense of unity with nature that includes not only the light, but also the green of the forest, the blue of the sky, and the shadows of the leaves as the trees sway gently in the wind. Then when evening descends, the scene takes on a completely different appearance. Tubes of light that are built into the walls switch on, and bamboo-like columns of light suddenly appear, stretching upward toward the heavens. Naturally, the artworks and the museum are made of light and greenery.