The Shimane Arts Center, designed by renowned architect Hiroshi Naito in Japan, stands as a nationally acclaimed cultural hub. This center emerged from the fervent desire of the Shimane citizens for a dual-purpose venue in the Iwami Region dedicated to showcasing art and hosting theatrical performances.
Shimane Arts Center technical information
- Architects1-3: Naito Architects and Associates
- Location: Shimane Prefecture Masuda, Japan
- Site Area: 36,564.16m²
- Total Floor Area: 19,252 m2
- Project year: 2005
- Photographs: AA.VV. / Naito Architects and Associates
I am just an ordinary man. Looking back on my past, it can certainly be said that I have been privileged to have been granted with many fortunate opportunities. Yet I have never been marked by any exceptional talent. I thus believe that the things that I can do can be done by anybody.
It may be possible that what is needed right now, and what we will eventually arrive at, is an appreciation for a sense of a “great ordinariness”.
– Hiroshi Naito in The Site of My Mind Exhibition
Shimane Arts Center Photographs
Grand Toit at Shimane Arts Center
The Shimane Arts Center, a masterpiece designed by Hiroshi Naito, stands as an example of cultural excellence in Japan. Known as ‘Grand Toit’, translating to ‘Large Roof’ in French, the center was inaugurated in 2005.
Spanning a floor area of 17,800 square meters, it is adorned with approximately 280,000 Sekishu tiles, a traditional craft element that embodies the spirit and heritage of the Iwami area. These tiles, famous for their characteristic red hue, symbolize the region’s growth and adorn local architecture, creating a vibrant tapestry of color that ranges from orange to green and even gold, depending on the light’s interplay.
The name ‘Grand Toit’ was selected from a staggering 16,456 entries in a nationwide competition, encapsulating the essence of the center’s expansive and culturally rich roof. This architectural marvel not only pays homage to the local traditions and culture but also seamlessly integrates into the surrounding environment.
The Shimane Arts Center is more than a building; it’s a shrine dedicated to the arts and culture of the prefecture. It serves as a crucible for new cultural expressions while preserving the rich history and natural essence of the region. The center provides a platform for both locals and visitors to engage with and appreciate the finest art and culture from Japan and around the world.
Strategically arranged around a central courtyard, the center houses the Large Hall, the Small Hall, and the Art Museum. Each of these spaces is unified under the magnificent Sekishu-gawara tiled roof and exterior walls, specially crafted by local artisans. This choice of material not only enhances the center’s aesthetic appeal but also strengthens its bond with the community, showcasing the unique craftsmanship of the Shimane region.
The theater wall was designed to hold acoustic reverberation of 1.8 seconds at 500Hz/without an audience. It is one of the best facilities in western Japan.
Shimane Arts Center Plans
Shimane Arts Center Plans
About Hiroshi Naito
Hiroshi Naito, one of the major exponents of contemporary Japanese architecture, has attracted attention in Europe and North America both through his technically advanced yet culturally and environmentally sensitive buildings, and through his inspiring critique of dominant trends in Western and Western-style Japanese architecture.
He seeks to design buildings that “breathe with” their natural as well as cultural surroundings. As such, Naito’s approach is to be understood as a provocative alternative to an oftentimes rather technocratic ecological architecture of European and North American origin.
Hiroshi Naito is currently one of Japan’s most active and innovative architects. His special passion is complex wooden structures and the use of ornate and artistic roofing tiles. Although he has not thus far designed outside Japan, his magnificent museums and cultural event buildings – but also his private homes in the Tokyo area – have created an international sensation.
- Materials: Structure-reinforced concrete, Precast Concrete, Steel frame
- Scale: Underground, first floor + 2 floors
- Typology: Cultural Architecture / Museum + Theater + Auditorium