Echigo-Tsumari Art House has the design is inspired by the traditional rural Japanese gatehouse to create a foreign artists-in-residence who will stay, work, and exhibit inside the structure.
Location: Niigata, Japan
Project's description: Held in rural Niigata every three years, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial is the world's largest international art festival. This art space was designed as a base for foreign artists-in-residence who will stay, work, and exhibit inside the structure.
The design is inspired by the traditional rural Japanese gatehouses, of which very few still exist today. Like the gatehouse, many visitors will pass through this building. It marks the border between two cultures and the meeting point for artistic exchange. The building seasonally opens its heart to the local rural community, welcoming them to wander inside, see the artworks on display, and meet their creators.
Of course, the harsh mountainous climate of Echigo-Tsumari requires special consideration, especially in regard to the region's immense snowfalls. Traditional Japanese farmhouses, such as those is Shirakago, served as models for the triangular roof form. to prevent overheating in summer, the asymmetrical facetted roof projects outward to shade the southern elevation. The exterior is clad with local sugi (cedar) wood which is preserved through a traditional charring process that turns it black.
The central opening through the building serves as the core gallery space. Sliding doors can be fully opened in spring and summer, welcoming-in visitors and cool mountain breezes to mingle within. The white roof helps to reflect solar radiation. In winter, the doors remain closed, absorbing the low sunlight energy within the floor for steady warmth.
The double-height central void offers exciting curatorial possibilities. The upper gallery can also be opened to the public for viewing works. When not used for exhibitions, it will be a lookout where the artists can relax gaze into the natural landscape for inspiration.
The gatehouse can also host performances throughout the year. In spring and summer, the house itself becomes the backdrop for outdoor performances in the rear courtyard amphitheater.
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