Hiroshi Sugimoto Designs the Perfect Space for His Odawara Art Foundation in Japan

Hiroshi Sugimoto likens Odawara Art Foundation's configuration to land art. Image: Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto has ambitious plans for his Odawara Art Foundation, a non-profit organization he founded in 2009. Critical of the architecture of many of the world’s museums, the artist is building his own complex on a coastal plot southwest of Tokyo, the Art Newspaper reports. The museum is slated to open by 2017.

Sugimoto is best known for his photographs of black-and-white seascapes (see Sugimoto’s Seascapes Market). But he is also a conceptual artist, a collector of ancient fossils, a stage director of Japanese puppet-theater plays (see Hiroshi Sugimoto Designs Luxury Glasses Inspired by Marcel Duchamp), and, since recently, the founder of an architecture practice.

Though Sugimoto never trained as an architect, he has a lot to say about museum design. In 2011, he published a Japanese-language tome which contemplates the architecture of the many museums where he’d shown his work.

“This is the worst space I ever encountered,” he told the Wall Street Journal in 2013, before a retrospective of his work opened at Seoul’s Leeum Samsung Museum of Art. According to the WSJ, Sugimoto’s ideal museum is “a very simple space,” exemplified by Peter Zumthor’s boxlike Kunsthaus Bregenz, in Austria, which gets a five-star rating.

The Odawara Art Foundation will occupy 9,500 square meters of coastal land. It will feature an original 15th-century entrance gate, an exhibition space, a teahouse, and a contemporary Noh theater with a stage that appears to float above the sea.

It will also feature a 70-meter underground tunnel, from which the sunrise will be visible only once a year, during the winter solstice in December. The cost of the new complex was not disclosed.

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