Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art: Welcoming Visitors with an Open Design

Guide to Japan Travel Culture Art

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, which opened its doors to the public in 2004, is located in the heart of the city, near the famous Kenrokuen garden. It was designed by Sejima Kazuyo and Nishizawa Ryūe of the architectural studio SANAA, winners of the Pritzker Prize, the “Nobel prize of architecture.” Aiming to create a museum that would be open to the city like a park, they designed a large circular building surrounded by a glass wall. It does not have a main entrance; instead it welcomes visitors through four entry points at intervals around the exterior.

The museum’s collection, consisting primarily of contemporary art, includes a number of works that are integrated with the edifice, such as Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool. The museum also plans its own special exhibitions and organizes events to promote public participation. It attracts more than 2 million visitors a year.

(Originally published in Japanese. Created in cooperation with Kanazawa Cable Television.)

Kanazawa Ishikawa architecture Hokuriku museum