We visited the “Stone Museum” designed by Kuma-san in Nasu. We wanted to visit the other Hiroshige Matou Museum of Art, but we couldn’t because we didn’t have time. When planning a trip like this one, we found that there are countless architecture sites in the northern Kanto region that we wanted to see. I don’t feel that there is no other place in the world where they are gathered as much as this one. I want to visit them little by little because I do not have time to visit them.
Designed by Kengo Kuma, Kuma has designed many museums in Japan and abroad, and “Stone Museum” is one of his early works, completed in 2000. This work is often mentioned in Kuma’s lectures, and I think it is one of the original works of Kuma’s architecture.
The stone museum is made of andesite called Ashino stone. It is very similar to the Oya Stone from Tochigi Prefecture, and is soft and easy to work with, excellent durability and heat resistance.
The stone is used almost everywhere in this museum. They come in a variety of colors, and this creates a unique façade. Many things are done here that cannot be seen elsewhere, such as stone louvers and a tea room made of stone. There are many unprecedented initiatives, and the construction of this work, which took about six years from planning to completion, is said to have been very difficult.
While restoring the original stone storehouse, they are working on creating a plaza and louvers using the stones. This kind of work is very similar to the work done at “Okatte Market” in Tomioka, and I felt that the operation of making use of old materials is a perspective that should be looked at carefully.