MCJA (Museum Of Japanese Contemporary Art)

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MCJA is a museum devoted to contemporary Japanese fine art and architecture in Lower East Side, New York, sponsored by Nintendo. The various independent cubes in the existing building not only celebrate the art, but also allow the building itself to be a collection of art.

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MCJA (Museum Of Japanese Contemporary Art)

  1. 1. THESIS SPRING 2009 PROFESSOR: BARBARA LOWENTHAL YASUKO NISHI
  2. 2. New York City is a world center of finance, entertainme nt, and art. New Yorkers know that many aspects of Western modern art and architecture were influenced by Japanese art and architecture. But their ideas about contemporary Japanese culture are limited, stereotypes, or out-of-date. They only know Japanese computer games, comic books, and sushi. My project is a museum devoted to contemporary Japanese fine art and architecture.
  3. 3. My client is the Nintendo Company, one of the most influential and largest game manufacturers in the world. Nintendo’s company philosophy is to make their products accessible to people of all generations; they want people to have many ways to enjoy life. One of the goals for this museum is providing the space to celebrate art and make the art work approachable for people who are interested in Japanese culture.
  4. 4. The site is on the Lower East Side, right next to the Williamsburg Bridge. The existing building, shared by the Police and Fire Departments, was designed by an American architect, William F. Pedersen, in 1975. The building has unique curves, horizontal ribbon windows, and various roof heights. The building is an appropriate setting for this museum because of the abundance of natural light and because the qualities of its massing resemble the setting of Nintendo's legendary game, Super Mario Brothers.
  5. 5. The design is inspired by the most recent Japanese contemporary museums and art work. One goal of these buildings is to trust the power of art and allow the building itself to be a work of art, the final piece of the collection. In the West, the typical modern museum is a white cube with an open plan – a flexible and cost- effective way to display art – but not visually compelling. Tadao Ando said quot;The white box does not show any respect for the art workquot; so he designed a unique, strong museum space, such as Chichu Museum to fight with the art. In contrast, the museums of Ando and SANAA have reconceived the idea of the white box exhibition space. The New Museum in New York City and the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum, for example, utilize a series of independent white cubes, with interior bridges connecting the volumes. My design is inspired by this idea but within an existing architectural framework. A series of volumes responds to the form of building and also creates an urban environment, a microcosm of UNIQUE USE a city, within the space. AGAINST WHITE CUBE: OF WHITE CUBES: TADAO ANDO SANAA
  6. 6. BASIC IDEA DESIGN DEVELOPMENT SKETCHES
  7. 7. WHY INTERIOR DESIGN? Finally, one could ask why Nintendo wouldn’t simply commission a new building for this museum, rather than renovate an existing structure. Of course it makes ecological sense to use an existing building and green materials but that answer is not good enough. On a recent trip to Japan I saw a building and an exhibition which inspired my project and also helped me to begin to answer this question. In the exhibition, called “House Project” in Naoshima, each artist renovated an empty hose to display their work. The museum, called quot;Seirensho (Refinery)quot; turned a ruined copper smelter on a small island into an art space with natural air ventilation and recycling systems. In both cases, I was struck by the powerful interaction of an existing building with contemporary art. The respect for history, the visual interplay of the new and the old, and the celebration of the future of Japanese art were overwhelming. These are HOUSE PROJECT REFINARY some of the most important goals of the MCJA.

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