Temporary Guggenheim Museum
Temporary Guggenheim Museum
Tokyo, Japan

Zaha Hadid Architects were recently selected to design the new temporary Guggenheim Museum in Tokyo. The 116 square meter structure will be a ten-year intervention into a dynamic area of Odasiba Island. This site of cultural experimentation and dynamic urban space is characterized by rapid development and an entrepreneurial spirit, providing the ultimate climate for a state-of-the-art architectural experience. The temporary Guggenheim will be a trend setter in terms of the architectural identity of the area.

“With respect to the architectural iconography the structure should signify the creative employment of state of the art science and technology. As a visitor experience the object has to excite curiosity and desire. A considerable degree of strangeness is indispensable. The project - like any true object of desire - will at first appear mysterious, an unknown territory waiting to be discovered and explored.” - Zaha Hadid Architects
In line with the temporary nature of the structure Zaha Hadid Architects opted for a light weight envelope. A strong signature figure is created as two folded planes - like sheets of paper - lean against each other and encapsulate a generous space. This image of an elegant light weight wrapping seems an appropriate response here where a space for changing exhibitions needs to be receptive to constant internal redefinition. However the empty space itself is already its own attraction. Although the spatial concept is extremely simple - in effect the parallel extrusion of three simple sections - the size, level of abstraction and dynamic profile of the folded planes insures an exhilarating spatial sensation.

The diagonal cleft at the top excerpts a dramatic sense of vertigo as the light washes down the tilted plane. The only further element that structures the interior captured between the two folded planes is a third extruded section that acts as a mezzanine level. This plane is inserted like a large table which affords the clean accommodation of all support spaces below and a generous raised exhibition area above - thus offering within the "garage" space the viewing advantages afforded by a raised plateau. At both ends the three extrusion are cut off at different angles. This simple move effectively articulates the ends and allows us to emphasizes the entrance zone with a dramatic gesture.

The proposal by Zaha Hadid Architects offers a big, single space wrapped by a snakeskin like envelope, which is animated by a large integrated media-screen. The quality of the skin proposed has a snakeskin-like pixillation that allows the formally coherent integration of various surface performances. The primary cladding material would be large scale ceramic tiles (offering smooth surfaces and brilliant colours). These would be interspersed by light-boxes which allow further daylight to penetrate the space as well as acting as artificial light source at night. Further panels would be photovoltaic elements. Finally Zaha Hadid Architects are proposing to embed a large media screen - in the form of honeycomb based "smart slabs". The media screen would nearly be camouflaged into the overall animation of the skin. Internally the skin operates according to the same concept but is aesthetically much more muted. Here light, ventilation and heating is incorporated within the pixel logic.

Following the first submission the scheme was further developed and a detail cost analysis was produced. The use of an intermediate mezzanine floor and the redesign of the interior areas allow a reduction of the external dimension of the building from 127m to 116m. without reducing the internal net areas The profile of the building has been reworked to be more efficient in relation to the cladding system, reducing the overall surface area and making the most use of the morphology to define public spaced within its external envelope. As consequence the net area of cladding has been reduced by approx. 10%. Considering the temporary character of the building the proposed solar panel technology has been removed and a more cost effective solutions has been introduced for the interior cladding. Where a series of different solutions are envisaged for different heights within the space.

Different lightweight structural solutions have been redeveloped and a series of proposal are included. As well as an integral rework of the original M+E systems to adapt themselves to the character of the building as a 10-year temporary structure. The overall concept was to use create a stable comfort environment and not to attempt to climatize to museum standards the whole internal space. As it is, the system of both lighting and climate control are taken literally as open architecture, where in the future and adapting themselves to different exhibition requirements environmental plug-ins can be use to completely change the internal atmosphere of the building. These should not be considered in the initial proposal, but should be developed in accordance to the material that in the future should inhabit the space. 


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