Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The Miho Museum is located southeast of Kyōto and is the dream of Mihoko Koyama (after whom it is named) the heiress to the Toyobo textile business, to house Mihoko's private collection of Asian and Western antiques. The museum was designed by I. M. Pei on a 250-acre site in the Shigaraki mountains. Pei set 80% of the museum's structure below ground to honor the natural landscape in accordance with his initial impression of the site, which he called "Shangri-La." In his sensitive interplay between man and environment, Pei has created an inspired museum experience, amid mountains frequently enveloped in mist and alongside colorful flowering trees that chance the character of the museum with every season. The approach to the museum through the mountain (pictured) signals a movement away from the world of the every day and Pei continues this almost spiritual transition (the Shinji Shumeikai spiritual movement does run the museum) by making the facade of the building a modern interpretation of a Japanese mountain shrine. The roof is a large glass and steel construction, while the exterior and interior walls and floor are made of a warm beige-colored limestone from France - the same material used by Pei in the reception hall of the Louvre. Inside, the artworks are sparingly placed among the interiors; a whole room may contain only a few pieces making the overall experience an alliance of nature, structure, form and art.

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