1999 – Gallery of Horyuji Treasures – Yoshio Taniguchi

A movement to abolish Buddhism, which began in the Edo period, culminated in the policiy of the early Meiji government to make Shinto the state religion. Many Buddhist temples were destroyed. The ancient temple of Horyuji in Nara presented the imperial house with a collection of precious objects in 1878 to protect itself from a similar fate. These treasures, which include both Buddhist and secular items, subsequently became government property.

In 1999 an elegant new building has been constructed to display the treasures to the general public while assuring their safekeeping. The museum has been conceived as a box within a box within a box. The innermost space, enclosed in thick stone walls, accommodates the galleries. The public areas are arranged around this space. Finally, a hood-like steel canopy is arranged in front, suggesting the outermost layer of space.

The facade is nearky symmetrical, belying an asymmetrical floor plan. The lobby and lounge space are brithly lit and in sharp contrast to the galleries, which have very subdued lighting. The transition is rather abrupt, and it takes some time for the eyes to adjust. As in other museums by Yoshio Taniguchi, the galleries themselves are containers that take on life only when the items on display have been installed. The main architectural interest lies in the circulation spaces, which offer unexpected points of view and contrasts between enclosed and open areas.

Name: Gallery of Horyuji Treasures│
Type: Museum│Architect: Yoshio Taniguchi│Completed: 1999


1995 – Kasai Rinkai Kôen Tenbô Hiroba Resuto Hausu (Crystal View) – Yoshio Taniguchi

This facility, which serves as a rest area and observation deck, is a short distance from Tokyo Sea Life Park by the same architect. It is a box seven meters wide, 75 meters long and 11 meters high, with an opening that frames a view of the water from the station. Fireresistant steel bars, 50 by 100 millimeters in section, with the fluoric resin paint are used as mullions and cross bars to form a cagelike structure that supports the roof without columns. Horizontal braces transfer lateral forces to the core.

The result is a highly transparent box, in which visitors can be seen climbing the stairs and ramps and looking out from the upper level. As one obeserver has remarked, putting human beings effectively on display as a counterpoint to the aquarium, where the fish are on show, is a witty ide. Air conditioning is limited to certain zones within the center, and on a clear day it can get quite warm for those who choose to make a public spectacle of themselves.

But looking outside, while the colder winter overlooks the Bay, it’s during the spring and summer when the flowers come out that the Crystal View Observatory allows one to see the beauty of nature all around.

Name: Kasai Rinkai Kôen Tenbô Hiroba Resuto Hausu (Crystal View) │Type: Entertainment│Architect: Yoshio Taniguchi│Completed: 1995


1989 – Tokyo Sea Life Park – Yoshio Taniguchi

Tokyo Sea Life Park is a metropolitan aquarium set in an enclave of (relatively) undeveloped land on the coast of Tokyo Bay. The distant view of a dome standing itself near the water lures the visitor even as he steps of the train. Drawing closer, he is enticed by a 100-meter wide curtain of water and by a glimpse once more of the dome. The visitor comes to the ticket gate. Once past the underground gate, he is hooked. The open sky tugs at him, and he climbs up to ground level. From there, he is gradually and inexorably reeled in, across a bridge and onto the rooftop plaza of the aquarium.

Tha aquarium is in plan a circle 100 meters in diameter, and the plaza occupies a quarter of that circle. The rest is taken up by a pond, and its water is visually continuous with the water of the bay in the distance.  The tops of tents suggest sails on the water. The glass dome, standing in the middle of the roof, is octogonal plan, and galvanized steel trusses curved into circular arcs meet at the top.

Name: Tokyo Sea Life Park │Type: Entertainment│Architect: Yoshio Taniguchi│Completed: 1989