An administration office with tinted, resin-laminated glass adjoins the lobby (above left), where the dark slate floor echoes the tone of the black-painted aluminum soffit of the canopy extension. Stainless-steel treads, lightly poised on the structural-steel spine of the stair (above right), lead down to the classroom area (right), where the lobby receives natural light filtering through the glass floor above.
4KENGO KUMA HAS GIVEN A NEW MEANING TO THE TERM "EXTREME MAKEOVER" WITH HIS TRANSFORMATION OF AN ARTIST'S HOUSE.
By Naomi R. Pollock, AIA
The entrance to the museum (right) with its recycled slats of wood (opposite) is located on the east facade. The former south and east facades (above top left) enclosed storage areas, and the door to the atelier was on the north side (above middle). The car was moved from the northwest corner of the site (above right) to the entrance side.
Architect: Kengo Kuma & Associates—Kengo Kuma, principal; Kenya Hara, graphics Client: Itsuko Murai Engineers: K. Nakata & Associates General contractor: Matsushita Industry Company
Size: 1,761 square feet Cost: Withheld Completion date: 2004
Locksets: MIWA Lock Company Security devices: ALSOK Group Spot lighting: iGuzzini Home elevator: Mitsubishi
For more information on this project, go to Building Types Study at www.archrecord.com.
It Is often said that one person's junk is another's treasure. But to Masanari Murai, one of Japan's first Modern painters, everything was a treasure. "He just hated to throw stuff out," says Itsuko Murai, the artist's widow and the director of the Masanari Murai Art Museum. Moved by the beauty inherent in coffee pots, clay dolls, and countless everyday objects, the artist preferred adding rooms to parting with possessions. Instead of deaccessioning, he simply enlarged his house. Like Masanari's bold, abstract canvases, his house, with its multiple additions and voluminous contents, was a work of art. "I thought the house was chaotic, but I like that kind of chaos," says architect Kengo Kuma. However, it took the Tokyo architect's editing as well as design skills to transform this eclectic mixed-media creation into a museum.
When the museum was first being planned, there was talk of leaving the rambling house as it was and simply opening it up to the public. But this proved impossible. Built in 1938, the original house was a "cottage style" wood frame structure located in the middle of a residential neighborhood west of central Tokyo. "I loved that house because it was very similar to the house where I
Naomi Pollock, AIA, is record's special correspondent in Tokyo.
was born," says Kuma. By the time the artist died in 1999, the cluttered house had become a fire hazard that ultimately had to be taken down. Instead, Kuma preserved the essence of Masanari's home by deftly salvaging parts of the old building and incorporating them into his new architecture.
The heart of Kuma's 1,761-square-foot museum is a faithful reconstruction of the artist's atelier: a pastiche of wood siding, door frames, and other lumberyard leftovers artfully added to the main house in the 1950s by a local carpenter. Originally, this atelier jutted out into the garden, but Kuma treated it like an artifact by encas-
1. Former entrance hall
9. Japanese room
BEFORE: SECOND FLOOR
AFTER: SECOND FLOOR
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