1959 – National Museum of Western Art – Le Corbusier

The Main Building was designed by the Le Corbusier (1887–1965). It is the only representative example of his work in the Far East; and the New York Times review of its opening suggested that the building itself presented an “artistic significance and beauty” which rivaled the paintings inside. The multi-story, reinforced concrete building was completed in March 1959. Le Corbusier asked that his three Japanese apprentices: Kunio Maekawa, Junzo Sakakura and Takamasa Yoshizaka be responsible for developing the detail drawings and supervising the construction.

The museum is square in plan with the main body of the galleries raised on piloti to first floor level. The layout is influenced by Le Corbusier’s Sanskar Kendra museum in Ahmedabad which was being designed at the same time. Entrance for visitors is at ground floor level via the 19th Century Hall. This double height space is lit from above with a north glazed pyramidal skylight intersected with reinforced concrete beams and a column. The paintings gallery wraps around 19th Century Hall, the ceiling is initially low but is raised to two storeys around the perimeter to display the paintings. Externally the building is clad in prefabricated concrete panels which sit on U-shaped frames supported by the inner wall. The building generally is constructed of reinforced concrete and the columns have a smooth concrete finish.

In July 2016 UNESCO listed 17 works by Le Corbusier as World Heritage Sites, including the 1959 National Museum of Western Art building


Name: National Museum of Western Art│Type: Museum│Architect: Le Corbusier│Completed: 1959

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