A recently-opened museum in Tokyo aims to archive and display architectural models from great Japanese architects like Kengo Kuma, Riken Yamamoto, and Shigeru Ban. The museum treats the models as important archival pieces in respect to their finished buildings as well as pieces of art worthy of appreciation.
The museum is called Archi-Depot, and it’s located in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo. Its founder, Warehouse Terrada, is a storage company that advertises its expertise in storing wine, art, and other media. This helps explain the layout of the space, which has its models simply arranged on 116 shelves in an open warehouse. Guests can look up more information, including photos and blueprints, of each model using QR codes. The layout of the museum is clean and minimalist, and it doesn’t take an expert in architecture to appreciate these delicate miniatures.
According to Archi-Depot, their mission is work at the intersection of museum and archive. “Architectural models are considered to be profound materials that transmit designers’ thoughts, as well as being high quality sculpture works,” the museum says on their website. “Fans of architecture will gather from all over the world, as ARCHI-DEPOT has an accumulation of Japanese architectural models.”
This museum is the first of its kind in Japan but its philosophy is similar to that of the Richard Meier Model Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey, which specifically gathers models made by the Pritzker winning architect Richard Meier. Other museums have dedicated specific exhibits to architectural models.