Ando Hiroshige Museum

Ando Hiroshige Museum in Batoh, Japan by Kengo Kuma, 2000

Intended to hold a collection of Edo-era artist Ando Hiroshige (image below), this museum in Batoh, Japan was inspired by one of the artist's ink drawings, "Rain on Travelers". Architect Kengo Kuma noticed how the artist used thin lines to portray the rain and carried this technique over into his design; the walls and roof of the simple box composed of a wood lattice over a wood structure.

Hiroshige's work represents ukiyoe, a movement in Japanese art to depict "pictures of the floating world". In other words his prints and paintings attempted to express the ambiguous elements of nature: light, wind, rain, fog. Consequently, Kuma's desire was to create in a building the spirit of the artist's successful depiction of nature.

The simple method of the wood lattice is surprisingly effective, with the change in light and relationship to the nearby landscape modulated by the differing levels of transparency, achieved by varying the wood spacing, throughout the building. It is evident that Kuma uses the structure and lattice as an architectural expression of Hiroshige's depiction of the changing elements of nature.