Showing posts with label kumamoto artpolis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kumamoto artpolis. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tamana Observatory


Taman Observatory is a curious structure located on a small hilltop overlooking a sports park and the town of Tamana beyond. It's not so high and the views are not particularly impressive.

More like an oversized, climbable sculpture than a building, it does have a single room inside the central ovoid shape.

As a photographer I found it exciting as I spent a good hour running around taking lots of geometric, abstract shots.

It is yet another of the Kumamoto Artpolis projects, and was completed in 1992, so an offspring of the bubble-era. Like so many similar projects, the lack of use and deteriorating concrete surfaces do not bode well for the future.

If I was a kid with friends, it would be a great place to play hide and seek, and I would imagine it would be suitable for a paintball contest, with lots of different levels and nooks and crannies.

The architect is a young Kagoshima native, Masaharu Takasaki, who does not seem to be very well known but does have a book written about him. I came across another of his projects earlier in my walk when down in Kagoshima.Nanohanakan  Sports Park is quite bizarre, but also excellent for the kind of geometric, abstract photography I am partial to.. 

It was an excellent place to spend the solstice night to see the sunrise

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Kumamoto Decorative Tumulus Museum


These are just some architecture shots of the museum I posted on last. This time I use the name that is listed in the official Kumamoto Artpolis listings, in which the museum is included.

It opened in 1993 and was designed by Tadao Ando, one of the best known modern Japanese arhitects, though many dislike his obsessive use of plain concrete.

From a purely photographic viewpoint I really like his work as it allows me to take strong, abstract photos with lots of curves and shadows.

A typical feature of many Ando designs is a great, sunken, circular space that brings the sky into the design, something he also often does with great expanses of water reflecting the sky.

More of my visits to Tadao Ando works can be found here. Some of the older posts have lost their photos. If you have any particular desire to see them or if you would like to see more posts on Ando Tadao, please leave me a message in the comments.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Decorated Tombs Museum Kumamoto

Tombs Museum

The Kumamoto Decorated Tombs Museum is located a few miles from Yamaga, north of Kumamoto City. It is sometimes referred to as the Forest of Tombs Museum.

The museum is situated in the middle of an area that has a high concentration of burial mounds of different sizes including the largest, a so-called keyhole tomb.

Burial mounds, tumulus in Latin, are found all over the world, called barrows in England, cairns in Scotland, and kofun in Japan where the name is applied to a historical period, the Kofun Period,  which runs from about 300 to 538 AD.

Burial chambers within the mounds that were decorated, either with carving or painted were in a minority, with a few being found in the Nara/Kinki area, but most being found in northern Kyushu. Of course there may well be more in the Nara region but the tombs there are not excavated. The official reason given is  to protect the dignity of the imperial ancestors, but many believe it is to avoid questions about the origins of the imperial clans.

The kofun, like so much technology, was imported into Japan from the Korean Peninsula. Decorated tombs, in particular, seem to have the strongest link with the kingdom of Paekche. On display inside the museum are many replicas of these decorated tombs. I believe they were originally created for a major national exhibition on decorated tombs in 1993.

While approaching the museum I also passed by another unusual type of burial, tunnel burials, where small tunnels were excavated into the rock face, kind of like pigeonholes or left luggage lockers

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Shirakawa Bridge Landscaping


The Sjirakawa River runs through downtown Kumamoto, and the main road that runs away from the railway station passes over the Shirakawa Bridge.

Fujie Kazuko was the young architect gice the project of "landscaping" the bridge as part of the Kumamoto Artpolis program.

Her project seems more like sculpture than architecture, primarily consisting of strang, geometric structures places on either sidewalk of the bridge. At night they light up/ Yje structures do seem to provide a little shade, but no protection from the weather.

It is the weakest of the Kumamoto Artpolis projects I have seen so far. Posts on other projects can be found at ths link.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Kumamoto Artpolis Kumamoto Station


Kumamoto Station is in the process of being redeveloped so it's not surprising that the project is incorporated into the Kumamoto Artpoli program. The West gate which is on the shinkansen side of the station and facing the hills has been completed.for ten years now.

A roof with organic curved outline and curved holes in it extend out from the entrance. There are also curved, vertical walls with rectangular opening that often frame vegetation. 

The architect was Sato Mitsuhiko. I enjoyed the space, especially as rhere are few people on this side of the station.

On the main East Gate only one small section has been completed, a long covered walkway that extends from the main station entranvnce out to the tram station which is covered with a flat roof with similar organic curves as the structure on the west side.

The plan is for more areas on this busier side of the station to have similar curved roofs. The architect is Nishizawa Ryue.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Kumamoto Station Koban


For those who don't know Japan so well, Koban is often translated as "Police Box" and they refer to  small police stations, not always manned 24 hours a day, that are scattered around the cities and rural areas.

I've seen several that were architecturally interesting, but perhaps the best is the one outside Kumamoto Station. It is one of the Kumamoto Artpolis projects.

An overhanging balcony extends out from the second floor, punctuated by circular holes of various sizes that allow the viewer to see the interior walls that are painted in a variety of pastel shades.

Unusually, for the Kumamoto Artpolis project,  the design was by a couple of non-Japanese architects, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, though they both had previously worked for Toyo Ito.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Shiranuhi Culture Plaza


Shiranuhi is a small town in rural Kumamoto. Shiranuhi Culture Plaza is a modrn building housing the library and a small museum.

It is one of the projects of the Kumamoto Artpolis and it opened in 1999. The architect was Atsushi Kitagawara.

The building itself is a simple, single-storey, rectangular block, however, it is encased in a framework that is much larger and covered in horizontal slats. The effect is to make the building more monumental in appearance and at the same time somewhat dazzling.

I likd it. To see other posts on Kumamoto Artpolis projects click on the label at the bottom of the post.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Yatsushiro Monument Kilali

Yatsushiro Monument Kilali

Day 45 of my first walk around Kyushu and it's time to head north out of Yatsushiro towards Kumamoto City. My first stop is the Shinkansen station a little outside the city, Shin Yatsushiro Station.

Standing in front of the station on the east side is Monument Kilali, a project of Kumamoto Artpolis.

It looks quite flimsy and is roughly the size and shape of a small house. Its not a building, though I guess it could be called a shelter. It seems to be made of steel but in fact is made of thin sheets of concrete.

It was built in 2004 and designed by the young architect Kumiko Inui. I liked it

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Yatsushiro Municipal Museum

Yatsushiro Municipal Museum

The Yatsushiro Municipal Museum in Yatsushiro, Kyushu was one of the earliest projects of Kumamoto Artpolis, a prefecture-wide program of innovative architecture. It was built in 1991 and designed by Toyo Ito.

It appears very light with its sweeping canopies, and to my mind is reminiscent of one of his most famous earlier projects, Steel Hut.

It appears to be a single storey building, but the artificial hill it stands on contains a lower floor.

The large cylindrical form on top is actually a storage space. Traditionally museums have storage in the basement, but the water table here is quite high.

I've been here twice but on both occasions it was closed so I cannot report on the museums content.