21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

1-2-1 Hirosaka

Kanazawa City


Japan 920-8509


Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA 2004


In a prime site opposites Kanazawa's Castle Park and Kenrokuen garden, the 21st Centuryu Museum of Contemporary Art is a vast, low, perfectly circular building of more than 100 meters diameter, set in a square garden. Beneath this circular roof, and within the plain glass curtain wall, are a maze of individual pavilions - mostly square or rectangular, one circular, some white cubes projecting up through the roof, others square courtyards open to the sky.



What makes this arrangement of simple geometric shapes work so well is the spaciousness of the layout, and the attractiveness of the bright white circulation spaces.



The mix of simple shapes here echoes Ando's Collezione in Tokyo; but there the shapes are interconnected and the concrete dark and solid, creating a maze of nooks. Here one can become a bit lost, but the layout creates long vistas both within the building (three corridors in one direction and one in the other go straight from edge to edge) and outside, the curved glass wall bringing the garden into the building by day, and the building into the garden by night. At both times of day this is a very rewarding building to visit.



Simon Glynn 2008 (updated 2010)



How to visit


The museum is on Hirosaka Street, across the road from the Kanazawa Castle Park, and just across the road junction from the entrance to the Kenrokuen garden.


The building's public spaces are open from 9am to 10pm, but not Mondays. For more information, including exhibitions and their opening hours, and more on the building including virtual tours, please visit www.kanazawa21.jp or call +81 76 220 2800.






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