The website for Benesse House Museum on Naoshima states that its, fundamental aim is to create special places by situating modern art and architecture within the nature and the unique culture of the Seto Inland Sea, a landscape with a powerful cultural and historical resonance.
They chose well-known modern architect Tadao Ando to develop the architecture for their vision. It has been a fruitful relationship with many buildings across the island being designed by Ando and Associates, becoming in themselves island attractions.
Apart from the Chichu Art Museum, other buildings designed by Ando include; the Lee Ufan Museum, Benesse House Museum and opened this year, the Ando Museum.
The Ando Museum consists of an old (approximately one hundred years old) house’s shell with an Ando concrete structure inside. Sadly, no photos allowed inside.
Benesse House Museum is interesting to visit as it shows Ando’s earlier attempts at using light and space, which have since been developed and are used much more successfully in the Chichu Art Museum. Again, no photos allowed.
One of the design elements in Ando’s works I really like, is the sudden reveal. Often a wall juts out and offers one of its sides to the visitor, but as you move around you realise the opposite side of the wall is different, be it a staircase, an entryway or a different ground plane. It is this element of surprise which really makes his buildings a joy to visit.