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Gallery in Kiyosato

Gallery in Kiyosato

Kiyosato, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
gallery + residence
timber construction (wooden structure)
Satoshi Okada
project team
Isao Kato
Lisa Tomiyama
structural designer
Hirokazu Toki, structural >Link
general contractor
Niitsugumi Co. Ltd.
photo credit:
Satoshi Okada architects & Koichi Torimura
download pdf file:
Satoshi Okada Darmstadt gallery in kiyosato.pdf
kiyosato construction process.pdf
Gallery in Kiyosato Gallery in Kiyosato

The building consists of a guesthouse with an art gallery for private collections of ancient Buddhism sculptures.

The site is located on the south-eastern foothill of Mt. Yatsugatake, 1300 meters above the sea level, where coniferous woods densely spread out. A stream runs along the eastern edge, bordering a primeval forest, an untouchable nature that is nowadays strictly protected.

I assumed a volume had to lie loosely among the trees that would incessantly sever the object so that it appeared like the painting “Le Blanc-Seing” by Rene Magritte, 1966. For instance, a huge rock sits on the site: when I wanted to capture the whole figure of the rock, I needed to stare at it from afar. But then, paradoxically, I could hardly see it because many trunks in-between interfered in my field of view. It is like an endless game between inevitability of nature and human desire; the more distant I am for grasping wholeness, the less integrated the wholeness becomes. Basing on my experience, I thought that the process of disintegration or fragmentation is effective for disposing an artifice in nature in terms of less exaggerating architecture itself to human eyes.

Finally, in the building, I would enjoy a variety of spatial scenes continuously changing from one observation point to another, a richness of experience powerfully enhanced by thresholds and balance between light and shadow I tried to pursue a taylor-cut natural reality that would allow the inhabitants to imaginatively depict the actual nature. Here again, I tried to realize the appreciation of nature by not revealing the surrounding context in its wholeness.

I tried to swell four curved lines by pinning their terminations and creating a hollow core in the middle. As a result, each line turns into a ship-shaped figure whose inside contains appropriate functions corresponded to the primary space. Here I name the ship-shaped space “secondary space.”

Because the ship-shaped elements are intricately disposed, the passage becomes a switchback space of continuity in which a series of fragmental scenes are sliding from one view to another, simultaneously previewing to reviewing. Every turning point is transparent: this sole element allows the visitor to enjoy the surrounding forest.

Gallery in Kiyosato

Mr. Hirokazu Toki, a structural designer and a colleague from my university faculty, analysed the load bearing bodies and together we created a new structural system composed of ship-shaped elements. We named it CSS, Container Structure System*: each load-bearing element contains a secondary space while supporting the roof that identifies the primary ambient and unifies the building. The construction procedure is therefore quite simple, fast and consequently inexpensive.

CSS is capable of producing a variety of architectural space. It accepts any construction material enabling prefabrication, any scale of construction from a small residence to a large public facility such as a museum or a library. Ideally, CSS enables architecture to grow endlessly when the ship-shape element is added to an existing building. Backwards, it is easy to reduce a part of a building by cutting some ship-shaped element off the main body. CSS thus provides a high quality sustainability in architecture.

(*CSS is now being patented for authorizing its construction systems.)


Text by Satoshi Okada


Gallery in Kiyosato Gallery in Kiyosato Gallery in Kiyosato
Gallery in Kiyosato Gallery in Kiyosato Gallery in Kiyosato Gallery in Kiyosato Gallery in Kiyosato
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