SUMIDA HOKUSAI MUSEUM DESIGNED BY ARCHITECT KAZUYO SEJIMA DEDICATES ITS SPACE TO THE WORKS AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI, THE PROMINENT UKIYO PAINTER.
Sumida is the hometown of Katsushika Hokusai, the prominent Ukiyo painter, but also the place that gave birth to and nurtured several important Japanese political figures, writers, philosophers, artists and spiritual leaders. In late November of 2016, Sumida Hokusai Museum was officially launched with a space dedicated to the works and autobiography of Katsushika Hokusai. With Kazuyo Sejima in charge as the project’s architect, the materialized form bears a resemblance to a cubic mass with a volume that is stretched out, cracked and folded. The architect utilized the unique physicality of these structural details such as the massive cracks that function as entries, egresses and openings. For the ground floor, Sejima designed the circulation to run through the building as walkways while the apertures are reconciled into a series of triangular forms with distinctive angular details. The mass, when complemented by the glossy textures of glass and aluminum, renders the reflective movements of the space and the crowds, ultimately bringing into the interior space the infinite visuals of a reflective prism. Looking in from the expansive grounds in front of the museum, one can see and hear the sounds of children running and playing on their newfound playground or a grandma walking her dog in the afternoon. The dynamic surroundings of Sumida Hokusai Art Museum reminds us of Hokusai’s Ukiyo paintings that convey the vivacity of the people’s way of life with the powerful presence of nature and the city of Tokyo from the past as their setting. With great imagination and execution, this particular piece of architecture by Kazuyo Sejima stimulates interaction between people, architecture and the town it calls home as witnessed by the activities going on inside and outside of the building. Depicted in both Hokusai’s paintings and Sejima’s architecture is the way of life in Japan’s capital city with the difference being the times in which both works were conceived and the spirit of the 21st century Tokyo that Sumida Hokusai Museum encapsulates.
TEXT: AROON PURITAT