Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects. Mediatheque, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan (Scale model 1:150). 1995–2001

Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects Mediatheque, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan (Scale model 1:150) 1995–2001

  • Not on view

Ito's Sendai Mediatheque is a paradigmatic exploration of a new museum type. The Mediatheque gathers, preserves, exhibits, and presents media without being bound to a particular form. In his conception of the project, the architect imagined the viewer as an organism with two bodies: the tangible "primitive" body that seeks light and air and the "virtual" body that seeks information. This project marked a watershed in a growing discourse about architecture's relationship to the virtual.

The building consists of three elements: a series of weaving structural tubes, floor plates, and skin. It is conceived as a small piece cut out of an infinite structure, a gesture most evident in the lack of differentiation between the building’s cross section and its understated facade. This implies that the building is a visible part of an infinite fabric that oscillates between materiality and immateriality—between the primitive and the virtual. Inside, aluminum partitions fuzzily reflect the structural tubes, which also seem to extend infinitely. Media labs, interactive stations, digital displays, and countless other technological happenings are flexibly integrated into the space without disrupting the building’s versatility and its capability of adapting to new media and new ideas.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, p. 197.
Medium
Acrylic
Dimensions
10 5/8 x 31 1/2 x 29 1/8" (27 x 80 x 74 cm)
Model maker
Quma Design Works
Credit
Gift of the architect in honor of Philip Johnson
Object number
413.1996
Copyright
© 2018 Toyo Ito
Department
Architecture and Design

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.