Sayamaike Historical Museum
The Sayamaike Historical Museum is located on the edge of Sayamaike Pond, an artificial lake that dates back to the 7th century.
The Sayamaike was constructed as an agricultural reservoir for
flood control measures but was remodeled into a flood control
dam. During that process, various kinds of precious heritage
The museum is dedicated to the relics and techniques of ancient Japanese water engineering along with the history of the community, through conservation of the bank strata and exhibition of various historical items excavated from the pond.
I decided to integrate the surrounding environment into the architecture, to create a place appropriate to the history that Sayamaike embraces, where the environment itself becomes a museum.
I attempted to generate a dynamic sequence of spaces appropriate to the exhibition's scale./Tadao Ando
Because of the site being about 15 meters below the bank Ando buried the building in a gradual continuation of the bank.
Following a path along the waters of Sayamaike, lined with
cherry-blossom trees, visitors pass a wall of rough
granite blocks to arrive at a concrete plaza . Steps in the corner
of the plaza lead down to a water patio with pools and cascading
waterfalls on both sides.
A recessed walkway along the edge of the central pool, behind a
curtain of water, leads into a rotunda at the opposite
end. A ramp inside the rotunda guides visitors to the
mid-level entrance to the building.
The buildings volume was determined by the scale of the museum's
main archaeological relic; a 15.4 meter tall and 62 meter wide
relic of the early engineering that was cut through the old
dam, dried out, and reassembled in the museum to show how layers
were added and sluices threaded through by a succession of
builders. The excavated wall is housed in a triple-height
Facts about Sayamaike Historical Museum
Building area: 3,773.53 m2
Total floor area: 4,948.47 m2
Tadao Ando Architects
Last updated: December 19, 2013
North Adams, Massachusetts, USA