21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art / MyOrb & Tramnesia / 2012

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art / MyOrb & Tramnesia / 2012


Footnotes

Visitors to museums typically tromp herdlike along an approved circulation path. In the 21st Century Museum, the corridors extend in many different directions, offering alternatives. "In most museums, the route is given," Nishizawa says. "Here it is something you create for yourself." However, human behavior doesn't change without a struggle. In response to the frustration and befuddlement with which people greeted the freedom to wander, the curators added directional arrows soon after the museum opened. "We tried to make it simple as much as possible," Nishizawa says. "Maybe, when you visit a city you have never been to, if you don't have a map, you get lost. But gradually, when you get used to the city, maybe you don't need the map." Maybe -- although, at one point while showing me around, even the chief curator, Yuko Hasegawa, had to consult one of the plans that are posted, with helpful "You Are Here" markings, throughout the museum. ➡︎

It was as though a giant cake-mould had been applied to random parts of the city, cutting out, replicating and testing each spatial configuration until reaching the perfect equilibrium. The exhibition spaces are the tower blocks; the corridors that run between them are the streets and alleyways, converging onto piazza-like open spaces; courtyards open to the elements take the place of small parks. It suddenly becomes clear that this deceptive sense of continuity between interior and exterior has been carefully crafted. The glass curtain that demarcates the point of transition is more of a convention than a boundary: a line in a diagram, the moment where the real city ends and SANAA’s imaginary city begins. And although the office’s work is renowned for being schematic in nature, the purity of the translation from diagram into architecture is undoubtedly the secret of its forceful simplicity. ➡︎


Extras

 21st Century Museum, Kanazawa, Japan – SANAA / Iwan Baan


Sources

◼︎ Disappearing Act / Arthur Lubow / The New York Times / 2005

◼︎ 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art / Solid transparency: Joseph Grima / Domus / 2005


Umimirai Library / MyOrb & Tramnesia / 2012

Umimirai Library / MyOrb & Tramnesia / 2012

5:46 AM: Paris Underwater / Olivier Campagne & Vivien Balzi / 2011

5:46 AM: Paris Underwater / Olivier Campagne & Vivien Balzi / 2011