The National Art Center
The National Art Center, Japan’s largest exhibition facility, connects with the Roppongi downtown as an extension of the street. As the trees surrounding the building grow the atrium will become a forested public space.
The large atrium is enclosed in an undulating glass curtain wall, with exterior glass louvers to block direct light and ultraviolet rays.
Kurokawa also designed the new glass curtain wall for the existing library building. The reflection of the new Art Center on the facade makes a visual connection between the buildings.
Visitors enter the atrium through a giant steel and glass cone, after depositing their umbrellas in the circular pavilion.
The cone is lit by a circle of lights.
The building contains seven 2,000 square meter column-less galleries, that can be divided up into smaller spaces by a series of internal partitions. The partitions, each weighing 2.5 ton, can be moved by two people.
Skylights and translucent spaces between the wood slatted walls admits daylight into the galleries.
A vast outdoor exhibition space is located on the back side of the building.
The Center also contains a library, an auditorium, a restaurant, a cafe, a museum shop, and a rooftop garden. The restaurant and café are located in the upper part of two inverted concrete cones.
Five of the gallery spaces will be used for exhibitions by Japan’s art associations, collectives of artists working in a particular media, that often have many hundreds of members.
The two remaining galleries, one with a ceiling height of five meters, the other eight meters, will be used for “special exhibition” of contemporary art organized by the Center itself, or in collaboration with other institutions and newspaper companies.
The National Art Center, together with the Mori Art Museum 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.