Possibly one of Tadao Ando’s lesser-known museums can be found in Nara Prefecture. Hard to reach by public transportation, it is advisable to travel by car. This rather remote location fits the museum’s agenda, that (for a museum) strangely enough is not to reach out to a broader public, but rather to be a symbol built with, and mainly built for the local community of Gojo.
"When I design buildings, I think of the overall composition, much as the parts of a body would fit together. On top of that, I think about how people will approach the building and experience that space." - Tadao Ando
With its bold gestures, the museum is definitely the most striking architectural statement within the city of Gojo. A large circular concrete mass built on top of a hill overlooking the municipality on one side and is sheltered by threes on the other. Opening up slightly on its sheltered side, the rounded elevation welcomes a slender bridge inward. A glazed façade within this opening slowly reveals the main entrance on the left. Behind this glass curtain wall, there is a vast open lobby space that demarks the starting point of descending back in time.
While walking down, one literally walks down (back) in time. The museum’s circulation represents a timeline through the transition of Gojo since prehistoric times, made tangible by archaeological and historical documents and interactive objects throughout the museum. On the last floor (-2) contributions of the community can be found in different types of folklore, (family)photos, and other personal items that were donated.
By displaying personal items, the museum created a rare bond with the people of Gojo. And as with most things that people get attached to, the museum acquired a nickname; ‘Gojobaum’ a mixture of the place name and Baumkuchen; a German variety of spit cake.
To build upon its local success, Tadao Ando designed a concrete teahouse next to the museum to further full the municipality’s desire to create a social center and meeting place for the entire local community.
name The City Museum of Gojo Culture (市立五條文化博物館)
architects Tadao Ando
open daily from 10:00 to 17:00 (admission till 16:30)
closed Mondays (Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday), New Year's Holiday
admission ￥300 for adults
access 10-minute bus ride from Gojo Station (north exit)
then a 10-minute walk from Den-en 1-chome bus stop
address 930-2 Kitayamacho, Gojo, Nara 〒637-0091