1996 – K-Museum – Makoto Sei Watanabe

The K-Museum was designed by uncompromising architect Makoto Sei Watanabe, the architect for several museums, corporate, and university structures throughout the country. The K-Museum was completed in 1996 as part of the first wave of construction in the newly developing “Tokyo Waterfront City,” Odaiba, located on an artificial island at the head of Tokyo Bay. The museum’s interior was designed to make visible the vast, invisible networks of energy, information, utilities, and refuse that keep Tokyo working.

Watanabe describes the building as following: “This museum rises into the very heart of this incipient city.  The purpose of the museum is to explain the infrastructure of Tokyo. Beneath the city is buried a huge common tunnel system for pooling energy, information, disposing of refuse, and for other purposes required in the future, the largest of its kind in Japan. The museum places this system on public display.

Computer-aided design and computer graphics as well as miniature models were used for the studies of the space and form of the architecture. The undulating three-dimensional curved surfaces were first studied using miniature models, which were then turned into CAD images through a 3-D scanner. The CAD images were then checked with analog measurements, and the results yielded the data for the stonework. Thus we adopted a policy utilizing both digital and analog technologies, comparing and coordinating them so that the strengths of each could be utilized. This policy conforms with the design concept and perception that the appeal of the city is the panoply of choices it offers.”

When the economic bubble burst, the museum closed without ever fully achieving its purpose of housing exhibits about the urban infrastructure of Tokyo. The building was left stranded in the middle of abandoned fields, unfinished walkways and bankrupt developments. Unfortunately, it is still closed today


Name: K-Museum│Type: Museum│Architect: Makoto Sei Watanabe│Completed: 1996

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