I have a guest article on Chris Rowthorn’s Inside Kyoto today, all about the new Heisei Chishinkan wing of Kyoto National Museum. This new wing presents a thought provoking contrast to the main building, the Meiji Kotokan. The latter was built in the late 19th century, when designing public buildings in a European style was seen as modern and progressive, and it has an ornate French Renaissance magnificence. The new wing however, expresses 21st century functionality in sleek, simple lines based on traditional Japanese aesthetics. Whereas the older building is showy, grand, and imposing, the Heisei Chishinkan presents itself with modest grace. In the hands of a lesser architect, such a contrast in styles and could have been a glaring eye-sore, but Taniguchi Yoshio has positioned his new building carefully in a deferential bow to the past.
Here’s a snippet from my article:
One of the most delightful features of this new exhibition area is that it too is open plan, so that you can enjoy multiple views of the floors below as you ascend through three levels. Unlike a traditional museum, where you would follow a strict route of one dimensional views of each exhibit in turn, at the Heisei Chishinkan all the exhibits are open to each other and each floor offers fresh perspectives. This also affords the visitor the opportunity to make fresh and startling connections. Having reached an upper floor and studied a gorgeous 17th century folding screen depicting scenes from Gion Festival, you can then immediately glance down and review the giant 11th century Buddhist statuary on the first floor â€“ but this time from above.
You can read the rest of the article here: A New Home for Ancient Treasures â€“ The Heisei Chishinkan Wing of Kyoto National Museum
And here are some more pictures from this fine new building.