1980 – Shoto Museum of Art – Seiichi Shirai

This quite strange piece of 80s architecture is situated in an upscale residential district not far from the busy and fancy Shibuya shopping an entertainment area. Although the building accommodates special exhibits, lectures and workshops for the public, the facade suggests, not a community facility, but a maximum security prison. As in the Noa Building, the entrance is a narrow slit in a rouhly-textured wall.

The wall is clad in Korean granite, and bronze louvers are installed over the opening. Translucent panels of onyx form the ceiling over the vestibule. There are four levels to the building, of which two are belowground, and the spaces are organized around a deep lightwell. After the dramatic buildup, the lightwell is something of anticlimax. The well, adorned with fluted cast-aluminium columns, is spanned by a bridge. Fountains discharche weak trickles of water at the bottom of the space. The gallery, crescent-shaped, is a two-story space overlooked by a gallery.

Name: Shoto Museum of  Art │Type: Museum│Architect: Seiichi Shirai │Completed: 1980


1974 – Noa Building – Seiichi Shirai

Built in 1974, the 15-storey building consists of a red-brick pedestal of about 8 meters height and a steel-covered and sculpture-like oval upper part that is dotted with very few windows, although the 8th floor has a full-length one. Monumental is the rusticated red brick lower section, which acts as a podium on which sits the high, oval block. To heighten the effect, an oversized and super-human arched gate leads to a rather dark, almost cryptiv entry space.

Name: Noa Building│Type: Office│Architect: Seiichi Shirai │Completed: 1974