#502 1-6-3 nihonbashi kayabacho,
chuo-ku, tokyo 103-0025

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The National Museum of Art, Tokyo, Collection Gallery Renewal

Architecture generally takes on attractive and rich qualities only after the construction is completed and the space is filled with things and events. One could say that an act of designing is almost synonymous with an act by a client and an architect of imagining a most ideal state possible together. The ambiguous state of things and events before the completion directly indicates architectural possibilities. On the other hand, when designing a renovation of a building that has been used for many years while maintaining the original function, one needs to deal with highly specific and pressing (and often localized or sporadic) demands which arose as a result of trials and errors over the years. In doing so, it is important to make finely adjust or “fine-tune” possible solutions (which means one has to pay attention to every single detail without end) and revise the museum’s use and concept to meet today’s needs.  

The National Museum of Art in Tokyo, which opened over four decades ago and went through seismic retrofit work over a decade ago, had a distinct atmosphere, almost like a kind of “scent,” ingrained throughout the building over the years. For better or worse, it was difficult to modify the structure or replace entire finishes due to a tight budget. Under such circumstances, the best and most important thing was to maintain the “scent” representing the museum culture by sorting out “things” (miscellaneous equipment, fixtures and signage) and “events” (viewing sequence) and refresh the space by cleaning existing surface finishes.




  • 1–4,6–9,11–15,17Yutaro Tomii
  • 5,10,16,18–20Tezzo Nishizawa Architects