Rias Ark Museum of Art

Location: Kesennuma, Miyagi  

1995 Architecture Institute of Japan Award
1995 Japan Light Metal Association Award

GA Japan, Vol.08


The museum's unique appearance results from the building being tilted from the perpendicular and use of curved surfaces. The entrance is in front of a large recessed 30cm thick steel plate. It conveys an impression of the power of the arc of the mountain moving through the museum towards the sea. The curved surfaces were created by bending with just fire and water-a technique derived from shipbuilding technologies.


In the 16th century, a Spanish explorer landed at the Rias (deeply-indented coastline) port town. He recorded that the Rias port was as beautiful as the port in his hometown in Catalonia. He described the local people as nice warm-hearted, and mentioned three trees half way up the hillside signposting the Rias port. The Rias Ark Museum of Art, devoted to local culture and history, was built in the overlooking hills ensuring a panoramic view of the Rias port town. It is a symbol of the artistic creativity of the people of this region.

The basic structure consist of reinforced concrete together with use of steel framing in part of the museum. In addition, a wide area was coated in traditional Japanese white plastering called 'Shikkui.' The external cladding was made of aluminium alloy in an appearance reminiscent of an airborne object.

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Port of Kesennuma, Miyagi, Japan   Takahashi Kogyo co., ltd