Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum
Toyo Ito & Associates

July 09, 2012 /

Imabari City, Japan

Photo: Iwan Baan

The Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum is a semi-open museum designed to house 44 pieces of sculptures created by the sculptor Ken Iwata.

The museum is located on Omishima, a small island within the Seta Inland Sea, rich in nature and culture, blessed with magnificent orange groves, and an Ohyamazumi Shrine that is said to have been built circa 1500 years ago.

The site is at the south western edge of the island, within the schoolyard of a former elementary school. Collaborating closely with Gallery Hasegawa in Tokyo and the Imabari City, the museum was planned next to the wooden school building as Mr. Iwata was once an elementary school teacher.

Photo: Iwan Baan

As most of the artworks are made of bronze and do not require indoor conditions, we attempted to design only the landscape as our first concept. After various studies our proposal developed into a museum simply wrapped around by a concrete wall in form of circular arcs - similar to temporary curtains hung during special events in Japan.

/Toyo Ito

L-shaped concrete walls with slightly projecting eaves are arranged in a circular pattern that is slightly offset from each other, creating a large enclosure approximately 30 meters in diameter. The openings of 1-2m in width created from the offset walls allow people and light to pass through, while inducing a moderate movement through the exhibition space.

Photo: Iwan Baan
Photo: Iwan Baan
The sculptures being installed in various heights and directions are placed in front of the painted white walls on green grass within the central courtyard. Visitors are able to appreciate the artworks backed by sceneries of blue sky, mountains and tiled roofs according to their viewing positions.

Photo: Iwan Baan
The curved walls acting like a giant ear collect sounds of birds and waves while amplifying them throughout the museum. Concrete benches are placed on the green courtyard and along the corridors, where the visitors can freely enjoy the museum visually and acoustically.

By overlapping nature, architecture and people with the works of a sculptor, the sculpture museum became a world with depth. We hope that this museum will be a place where the visitors can attain the same sense of serenity that Mr. Iwata has put into his works of 'Mother and Child.

/Toyo Ito

Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito & AssociatesSite Plan

Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito & AssociatesPlan

Drawing courtesy Toyo Ito & AssociatesSection

Facts about Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum

Site Area:

1,912 m2
Building Area: 197.29 m2

Toyo Ito & Associates

Project Team:

Toyo Ito
Takeo Higashi
Toyohiko Kobayashi
Nanako Kondo
Yoko Takaike
Julia Li

Structural Engineer:

Sasaki Structural Consultants

Mechanical Engineer:

ES Associates Co., Ltd.

Electrical Engineer:

Ohtaki E & M Consulting Office Co., Ltd.

Signage Design:

Hiromura Design Office


Taisei CorporationA

Sculpture Casting / Installation:

Okamiya Fine Art Foundry

Photographed by Iwan Baan


Ken Iwata
Gallery Hasegawa

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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