Presented by Tadao Ando, one of the greatest architects in Japan. A space where you can “enjoy” architecture. / Ando Gallery in Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art (Kobe-shi, Hyogo)

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art is one of the biggest museums in western Japan, and its attractions are not only its consummate collections or special exhibitions.
Because both the architecture and the space by the seaside itself was designed by Tadao Ando, it can be called a living artwork.

The past and future of “ANDO of the World”

The Exhibition Block No.2, which was designed by Tadao Ando, was newly opened in May 2019.

A new 2-layer exhibition space was created in between the big eaves shown in this photo.
This space is called the “Ando Gallery,” and surprisingly, you don’t have to pay an entrance fee to enter.

On the second floor, Ando’s architectural works in Hyogo Prefecture are introduced. Also, you can see how Ando worked on projects for the reconstruction and rebirth of Kobe after the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, which occurred on January 17, 1995.

One of Ando’s architectural works in Hyogo, “the multiple dwelling house in Rokko” was built on a steep gradient of 60 degrees.

There is a corner exhibiting some of Ando’s early works.
In this space, you can see some concrete models and panels of some of his works, such as “Nagaya in Sumiyoshi” in Osaka and “Church of the Light” where you can see the sunlight as it shines through the cross slit on the wall.

When you go on to the upstairs, you will be stunned by the huge bookshelf full of architecture and design books.
It is like a dream for book lovers.

On the third floor, you can see Ando’s newest domestic and overseas projects, and see how Ando is working energetically all over the world.
There is a mockup of “Punta della Dogana” in Venice, which Ando renovated as a contemporary art museum from a historical building that was formerly a customs-house.

When you look at the sea from the window on the third floor, you will see the big green apple on the “Sea Deck.”
It cannot be missed and attracts your interest.
This outdoor green apple was also designed by Tadao Ando, and its motif is “Youth,” the poem by Samuel Ullman.

“How can we get there?”
Naturally, we cannot stop going to the sea deck, ushered by our curiosity.
The construction of this second exhibition building has made it easier for people to stroll through the entire facility.

A “circuit style” walking museum where you can get a taste of Ando’s architecture

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art was opened in 2002, as a symbol of the “restoration of culture” after the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake,and the inside of the museum is like a huge maze.
You can observe many of the fascinating aspects of Ando’s architecture while you are strolling around inside and going up and down the stairs.
Also, you can catch glimpses of the beauty of the sea and mountains.
Even you are not inside of the exhibition rooms to see any paintings, but just walking through the “free-of-charge” space in the museum, it feels like a luxurious experience.
*Please see the recommended spots here (Japanese only)

Maybe it sounds strange, but I would like to recommend visiting the museum on a cloudy day with a heavy sky.
The architecture looks so chic and cool in dull weather.
It is like the neutral overcast sky creates a continuous space together with the concrete walls and stairs.

Needless to say, the architecture and the space are also beautiful with the blue sky, the shiny water surface, and the shadows formed by bright sunlight on a sunny day.

If there is no exhibition you feel motivated to see, just look the volume and position of the light on Ando’s architecture closely.
It is going to be a new way to fully enjoy the museum.

Exhibition Block No. 2 (Ando Gallery), Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
Address/1-1-1, Wakinohama-kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
Closest stations/Hanshin Iwaya Station, JR Nada Station
Parking lot/Available for 80 cars at underground parking lot (charged)
Open/10:00 – 18:00 (20:00 is the closing time for the special exhibition on Friday and Saturday. Last Admission is 30 minutes before the closing time)
Closed/Mondays (Closed on Tuesday when the Monday is a national holiday), December 31 and January 1
Admission fee/Free (Fees for the permanent collection and special exhibitions are required.)

Photographs and text by Madoka Hori

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Written by

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog Twitter


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