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The Museum of Wood (Tadao Ando)

            In the deep forests of Mikata-Gun, Hyogo, Japan lays a simple yet quite intricate structure. Constructed of wood, steel, and reinforced concrete, it towers 16 meters high and covers over 1,900 square meters. The Museum of Wood is "conceived as a great truncated cone,"" which can be described by the Japanese concept, kinari, or beauty in its purest form of aesthetic expression. The museum was completed in April 1994 by Tadao Ando Architect and Associates to commemorate Arbor Day and celebrate the study of wood in Japan. Tadao Ando was born in Osaka, Japan in 1941. After graduating from high school he found himself in a craftsman-like environment and was self-educated. Living near many shrines, temples, tea ceremony rooms, gardens, and folk houses which were regarded as national treasures and cultural assets, he found himself visiting them frequently and from these traditional concepts he discovered his own style and interpretation of form. The next following paragraphs will describe how Tadao Ando uses certain details in the fazade, site plan, and volumes in his Museum of Wood to create a certain feeling and experience by intertwining the concepts of material, geometries, and nature. .
             The Museum of Wood carries an explicit connection and relationship with nature. The Forest Monolith' as Phoebe Chow describes it, is far from any city lights and a bustling urban environment.1 Remote from these unnatural technologies, it finds itself in its own niche and captures the true elements of nature. The use of wood as its primary material of construction, gives one an impression that the museum is not a disturbance or conflict with the environment but actually a sophisticated part of the nature. From the outside, it is hard for a visitor to determine the front entrance that hides on the south-eastern facade of the main building. It is boringly plain and simple, with no dynamic or interesting shape but the cut cone.

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