This post is not about architecture as a beautiful object, and not even about pretty landscaping. But first a bit info about the building and then I will take you to the reason why this building has changed my life.
South view to the bridge dividing two parts of Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum
I spent only one afternoon in Nagasaki, I was in the rush, but still that was enough to get very positive impression. The city is very different from other cities in Japan. It is more European and at the same time even more different. The urban planning is just great – while walking around I kept thinking to myself that many architects and planners (including some people, that I know) should be sent in to Nagasaki, to learn some important lessons they must have missed in their lifes.
View to the bay from the rooftop of museum
Landscaping nearby museum
Designed by Mr. Kengo Kuma and NIHON SEKKEI, Inc., opened in April 2005, the buildings won many prizes in building and illumination design competitions. Comprised of two buildings located across a canal from each other and connceted with a glass bridge. Interesting design feature – vertical louvers composed of approximately 12 000 square meters of Brasilian granite. The louvers give interesting and interactive dimension as you move-by. However the best feature of Nagasaki prefectural art museum is the wonderfully done landscaping, green rooftops what almost melt into the surroundings.
Views from roof-top terraces
After going down from the roof terrace, I was enjoying the view from bellow and then… Two girls dashed through the bridge: one in a wheel-chair and another pushing her. They were laughing very loud, they were so happy. It struck me like a lightning: the buildings do need to be accessible for everyone. Now, after some time has passed since my visit and the understanding has settled-in deeply. The understanding and idea behind accessibility seems natural now, but was not up to this scale until that afternoon in Nagasaki.
The building is open and truly accessible to everyone (at the time the opening hours were already over)
Girls on the bridge came back and forth at least 5 times giving me plenty of opportunity to photograph them. The joyful laughter still rings in my ears up to this day.
Often people (even designers) do not take this seriously at all, even public and important buildings do not have ramps, or any means of getting there at all. But someone needs to understand, that not every handicapped person is an old drunkard who got in to such state due to his own actions (a very common assumption in the region where I live now). I must admit may times the regulations concerning handicapped people used to be seen just as a nuisance. Who has ever seen a handicapped around, but maybe THAT is the reason they are not visible? I will never be frowning again for making an accessible building; to the contrary I have since became an active advocate of accessibility!
Some more images from and around the museum: