National Science Museum in Matsunoyama
Situated 200 km north of Tokyo in a region subject to heavy snowfall, the museum was built without firm foundations to allow for horizontal expansion. The slender, meandering complex, with an overall length of 111 m, follows the topography of the site and has to bear snow loads of up to 2,000 t. The outer skin consists of 500 t of preoxidized steel welded to a steel primary structure. Four enormous 75 mm perspex windows at the angles of the building allow an immediate perception of the natural environment. In this way, the museum seeks to stimulate a discussion about urban development and endangered rural areas in Japan. The structure culminates in a 34-metre-high observation tower.