Chihiro Museum of Art, Azumino, Japan
Set in the foothills of the mountains near Azumino, the museum exhibits watercolours and children’s books by the local artist and illustrator Chihiro Iwasaki. To minimize the impression of size and to integrate the building into the surrounding landscape, the timber roof was articulated into a series of pitched sections, which are supported by large-span, U-shape reinforced concrete beams. The detailing is simple, yet subtle, and without visible metal elements. The solid timber rafters are braced at the top by curved laminated members, which also support the ridge beam. The overall impression is surprisingly spacious, with many visual links both internally and between indoors and outdoors. In contrast, the exhibition spaces themselves are enclosed.