Conceptual architect Toyo Ito is known for his combination of reality and fantasy, attempting to create a "simulated city." Taking this concept to heart, Ito has designed a new museum. The subject? Himself.
The large angular structure bears an uncanny resemblance to the deck of a ship as it overlooks the Seto Inland Sea. It is the first architectural museum in Japan dedicated to one architect.
After working at Kiyonori Kikutake Architect and Associates from 1965-1969, Ito started his own architectural firm in 1971 called Urbot, which was later renamed Toyo Ito & Associates. The visionary architect built his reputation upon unique private estates, the most famous of which is the U-House, constructed in 1976. Designed for his older sister, who had recently lost her husband to cancer, the U-House intended to present a clear line of vision so that all family members could see one another, regardless of location in the home. The house also provided a then-unheard of emphasis on the connection to open space and plant life that had been missing from their previous high-rise apartment.
The new museum resides on the Japanese Island of Omishima and displays facades reminiscent of Ito's larger public work such as the Mikimoto building in Ginza, Japan. While it may seem presumptuous for an architect to design a museum dedicated to himself, the Toyo Ito Museum is just another step towards attaining the architect's vision for what is to come. Ito explained to Architizer that the museum represents a "see-worthy vessel. Like a ship embarking from the port city of Imabari with a cargo of dreams of architecture for the future, the museum is setting sail on a new voyage into the unknown."