Mori Art Museum
The Mori Art Museum occupies the top five floors of the 54-story Mori Tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, in the new Tokyo district of Roppongi Hills.
The project by Gluckman Mayner Architects includes the Atrium Lobby, the Art Museum, and the Tokyo City View, an observation deck and promenade with panoramic views of the city.
The “Museum Cone,” a separate structure at the base of the tower, provides a distinct and iconic entrance to the Museum.
A concrete “funnel” at the center, containing passenger elevators, provides the main vertical support for the building. Fitted from the rim of the concrete canopy is a delicate frame of horizontal rings held in situ by a diagonal net of stainless-steel cables.
The gentle, sweeping spiral stair, coiling around the “funnel,” overlooks the historic Japanese Garden as it connects five levels, including garden access, and the pedestrian plaza, and Museum bridge.
The structure is clad in glass shingles, printed with a translucent ceramic frit pattern, that overlap to provide protection against the elements. At night the structure glows softly, like a paper lantern.
A glazed footbridge take visitors from the pavilion to the lower lobby where high speed elevators lead to the Art Museum on the 52nd and 53rd floors, and to Tokyo City View. The museum bookshop and a cafe is located in the lower lobby.
At the moment of our visit the lobby was rather dark as a large screen was showing clips of videos by Bill Viola, one of the world’s leading video artists, who is having his first retrospective in Asia through January 7, 2007.
Because the tower’s complex elevator system placed the museum’s visitor lobby one floor above the main pedestrian arrival level, and the site plan presented a dense mix of varied commercial uses, the “Museum Cone” acts both as a beacon for site navigation and a signifier for the cultural components located within the tower.
The rough red Indian sandstone of the Upper Atrium gives character and texture to its soaring walls. Thin planes of brightly colored glass animate public gathering and circulation spaces. Pale blue plastic denotes ticketing and information counters.
With no permanent collection the Mori Art Museum displays eclectic exhibitions of paintings, photography, fashion and architecture.
The museum galleries are designed as straightforward rectangular boxes, simplifying circulation and providing ideal spaces for art.
The Architecture Museum’s galleries on the 52nd floor form a sequence of inwardly focused spaces, while the two Art and Technology galleries, enclosed in translucent glass, float above the 52nd floor observation decks and extend to the very edge of the building, offering a spectacular view of the city.
The flexible L-shaped design can be divided into two different arrays of rectangles; a long one with a small one next to it, or a square one with a rectangle next to it.
|There is a conceptual grasp of multi-use tall buildings and “a culture of giving things back” to the community. The two urges came together at the Mori Tower in Tokyo with an art gallery at its summit. Its architects Kohn Pedersen Fox are brilliant designers of tall buildings, able to represent different programmatic components in very large buildings. Designing the gallery we knew we would have to do something to exploit the condition on top of the building. We couldn’t build a closed-in box.|
The Mori Art Museum, together with The National Art Center, and the the new Suntory Museum of Art, opening in Spring of 2007, will form the “Art Triangle Roppongi,” establishing Roppongi as one of Tokyo’s major cultural centers.