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Designed by Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates


Tokyo, Japan


Designed by Kisho Kurokawa architect & associates in collaboration with Nihon Sekkei, Inc., the National Arts Center Tokyo (NACT) is made up of seven enormous column-less display rooms (each measuring 2,000 m²), as well as a library, an auditorium, a restaurant, a café and an excellent museum shop. The building’s floor space totals 45,000 m², making it Japan’s largest museum.
NACT is what some call ‘an empty museum’ because it has no permanent collection or lead curator. Instead, it hosts an every-changing array of temporary exhibitions sponsored and curated by outsiders. Its architecture and design must serve an identity that is completely fluid, hosting and representing collaborators and diverse creative expressions.

To this functionality, NACT is essentially a gigantic display machine designed to rival the mechanical display space is the atrium facade, an enormous transparent undulation. As the trees surrounding the museum grow, they enclose the atrium in a forested public space. A restaurant and café are also in the atrium space, housed within the upper portions of two large, inverted cone structures. The atrium connects with the street of Roppongi’s downtown area, linking the museum to surrounding activity and nightlife.

The largest exhibit in Japan, the Nitten Exhibition, displayed a collection of over 12,000 works taking up an area of 10,000 m² or more than 5 display ‘blocks’ in 2007. The jurying process began in the basement, where works were brought in one-by-one at the loading area and only the pieces selected were brought by service elevator to the display blocks. Medium and smaller exhibits were held in one ‘block’ and judged, separated, held and displayed as they were unloaded from trucks in the basement in a functional rhythm. One display ‘block’ was sometimes divided by partitions, creating smaller spaces. 

In Spring/Summer 2007, NACT held a Monet exhibition that was the second-most visited exhibition of the year globally.

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Project completed: 2006
Architects: Kisho Kurokawa architect & associates + Nihon Sekkei, Inc.
Category: Culture
Areas: Restaurant, café, library, education area, exhibition spaces
Products: 3107™, PK80™, Ant™, ICE™ & Table Series 


S Structure (partly SRC Structure)
2 basement floors + 6 floors
Fritz Hansen designs: 3107™, PK80™, ICE™ and Table Series
* 2006 Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award
* 2008 Building Contractors Society Award
* 2008 Good Design Award