Museum of Void
“Imitation, adaptation and improvement of the foreign models is at the very core of the Japanese creative development process”
– Alexander Prasol, Modern Japan : Origins of the Mind
The Three-cycle Process described by Prasol is a general rule which Japan has applied in every fields of its development, from the industrial and technological sectors to the artistic realm and every-day lifestyle. The research will focus on how the imported concept of museum and fine arts have been adopted and synthesised with the traditional Japanese culture through the notion of “Ma”, or Sense of Place, and its five different meanings as:
Form-Non-Form, Object-Space, Interior-Exterior, Void-Place and Space -Time.
The concept of museum in Japan was introduced from the Western European countries the end of the 19th Century. The establishment of first museum in Japan was based on foreign models in an era of intense modernisation and “Westernisation” of the whole country. The meaning of art and museum were translated in Japanese for the first time and respectively were both coined as “the mean of beauty” and “house of extensive things”. However, the inception of museum was a result of a cultural contamination the perception of museums and art in Japan developed differently from the Western counterparts, which led in modern time to a broader classification of Museum in Japan which include zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums.
The Twentieth century saw also the revolution in Japanese architecture in three phases. At first Japanese architecture attempted to emulate the Western handling of form and space called “Kuukan” not only in architecture but in sculpture and painting too. Later the modern movement emphasized the creation of spaces and various parts, rather than on the forms of the parts themselves. Finally a new phase when adopting the techniques of the West has been enriched and deepened by a new concern for the traditional concepts of Ma.
Therefore the Three-cycle Process described by Prasol can by architecturally translated with : Object-making, Space-making and Place-making.
Architecture of museums in Japan have reflected such cultural transformation, selected case studies will illustrate how the five different meaning of “ma” have permeated their design and structural arrangement.