Tadao Ando’s Valley Gallery looks like a crashed spaceship

Sharp angles and apertures create dramatic shadowplay

Built on Japan’s Naoshima art islands, this origami’ building by Tadao Ando is a drastically different take on the gallery experience.

It’s Ando’s ninth design for Naoshima, which is located in the Seto Inland Sea and home to museums housing artworks by the likes of land artist James Turrell and Yayoi Kusama, whose giant metal spheres tumble down the concrete steps of the museum’s gallery. The architect completed his first building on the island, the Benesse House Museum, 30 years ago.

Photography: Shintaro Miyawaki / Valley Gallery
Photography: Shintaro Miyawaki / Valley Gallery

Valley Gallery sits (as the name suggests) in a valley, with the form of the surrounding land guiding its distinctive shape. The space itself measures just 96 sm, located beneath a steel roof resembling a pair of folded wings or the shell of a crashed starship.

Ando has left the gallery open to the elements, with triangular apertures bringing natural light. Visitors walk a long path up to the gallery, passing by artworks by Kusama and Tsuyoshi Ozawa, as well as azaleas and cherry trees.

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Narcissus Garden’, Stainless steel spheres, 1966/2022. Copyright of Yayoi Kusama
Photography: Katsuyoshi Yano / Valley Gallery

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