About

Concept

The Towada Art Center is the central facility for the Arts Towada Project, which was created to reinvigorate the local cityscape by introducing a variety of artworks into the environment as well as promoting projects and exchange with artists, citizens, and visitors to the city. The Towada Art Center houses a permanent collection of 38 commissioned artworks, all made exclusively for the Towada Art Center by 33 world-renowned artists from Japan and abroad, including Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama, Choi Jeong Hwa, and Ron Muek.

Our facilities include permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a collaborative space, and cafe, as well as other spaces for incorporating the community into art activities and exchange. In addition to art exhibitions, the Towada Art Center works within the community to support a variety of cultural programs.

Some of the most striking features of the Towada Art Center are the independent exhibition rooms that act as “houses for art,” interspersed throughout the facility and connected to each other by glass corridors. Dividing the spaces has allowed for better customization of the space to each artwork, creating a sense of intimacy and harmony within each room. The idea of interspersion came from the design of Towada’s main arterial–Kanchogaidori Avenue–where buildings and open spaces intertwine. The city itself organically mingles with art.

The building is filled with juxtaposition of large and small, creating a sense of continuity with the dynamism of the street outside, which is also lined with buildings large and small. This unique design also allows for the placement of outdoor exhibition spaces and event spaces, making it possible for visitors to simultaneously experience indoor and outdoor art.

Many of the exhibition spaces have wide glass openings that face in different directions, creating a sense that the artworks are exhibited for the city outside as well.

About Arts Towada

Towada City began the Arts Towada Project in 2008 to reinvigorate the local cityscape, whose main Kanchogai Avenue (lit. “street of government offices”) had become noticeably desolate due to population decline, government downsizing, and recent move-outs. In an effort to revive the street, Arts Towada introduces a variety of artworks into the environment as well as promotes programs and exchanges between artists, citizens, and visitors to the city.

The Towada Art Center is proud to announce that Arts Towada has recently been awarded the inaugural grand-prix prize from The Institute of Environmental Art and Design.

The Art Plaza is an outdoor space along Kanchogaidori Avenue that has been transformed into an open-air museum. A variety of artworks adorn the entirety of the avenue. The boldness of such a project is rare even when considered on a global scale. Towada strives to be a city of the arts, one that inspires creativity in visitors and residents alike. The city’s strong art scene, rich history, and natural beauty all work to intensify the local vitality of the area.

About the Building

Architect Ryue Nishizawa

1966

Born in Tokyo.

1990

Master’s Degree, Yokohama National University Graduate School.
Joins Kazuyo Sejima and Associates.

1995

Establishes SANAA with Kazuyo Sejima.

1997

Establishes Office of Ryue Nishizawa.

Associate Professor,
Yokohama National University Graduate School (Y-GSA).
Visiting Professor, Princeton University Graduate School.
Visiting Professor, Harvard University Graduate School.

Main Works

2004: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa (museum; Ishikawa prefecture); 2005: Moriyama Residence (apartment house; Tokyo); 2005 N MUSEUM (museum; Naoshima, Kagawa prefecture)

(Asterisk indicates collaboration with Kazuyo Sejima)

Awards

Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, 1998 and 2006 (As SANAA)
La Biennale di Venezia International Architecture Exhibition Golden Lion Award, 2005 (As SANAA)
Mainichi Art Prize, 2005 (As SANAA)
SD Review Kajima Award, 2001
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology The Young Scientists’ Prize, 2005
Rolf Schock Prize, 2005

Comment

This building, as an integral part of the concept of transforming the entire Kanchogaidori Avenue into an art museum, inevitably needs to be open and approachable. The activities happening within the building must continue seamlessly onto the street outside. To achieve that, we have divided the exhibition rooms into separate entities; their random interspersion throughout the facility allows for the intertwining of the indoor exhibition rooms and the outdoor art space.