Kengo Kuma’s Architecture Blends into the Forest
The Meiji Jingu Museum designed by Kengo Kuma integrates flawlessly with its natural setting.
Kengo Kuma is known for his innovative work with natural materials such as wood, as well as his ability to create contemporary designs that embrace traditional Japanese aesthetics. The Meiji Jingu Museum is a work where the architecture seems to be in harmony with the surrounding. The museum seems to blend into the beautiful, dense woodland.
This museum building is on the approach to Meiji Jingu, one of Japan’s most famous shrines. Located in Shibuya, Tokyo, the Shinto shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. The museum not only displays art and treasures preserved in the shrine but also explains the history of the site’s buildings and the large forest surrounding them.
“We considered that the forest grounds of the shrine should play the main role, with the architecture blending into the trees,’ explains Kuma’s firm, KKAA. “At a glance, the forest appears primeval, but the site had previously been a plain field. following the death of Emperor Meiji, trees were collected from all over Japan and were planted by volunteer workers. According to experts, the forest’s abundant growth over the last century has been nothing short of miraculous.”
“We aimed to dissolve the architecture into the greenery, by limiting the heights of the eaves, dividing the roof into the smaller forms with tapered edges and segmenting the outer wall with the Yamato-bari detailing.”
The Meiji Jingu Museum displays important cultural properties moved from the Meiji Jingu Homotsuden Treasure Museum. The first floor introduces Meiji Jingu and the Shinto religion in an easy-to-understand manner. It is also where you will find the museum shop. The second floor has sections for permanent and special exhibitions.
Name: Meiji Jingu Museum
Date: October 2019
Area: 2463.30 sqm
KKAA project team: Toshiki Meijo, Kosuke Tanaka, Hiroyasu Imai, Masato Shiokawa, Hiroyo Yamamoto
Contractor: Shimizu corporation
Structure engineer: Kanebako Structural Engineers.
MEP engineer: P.T. Morimura & Associates, Ltd.
Photography: Kawasumi — Kobayashi Kenji photograph office