The Mizuta Museum of Art houses a collection of Ukiyo-e prints. The Japanese term translates as “pictures of the floating world,” and it provided the central theme for Studio SUMO’s design: Gallery volumes appear to float within a concrete wrapper.
On the north end of the building, the delicacy of the Ukiyo-e prints being displayed within prevented the use of glass. Here, wood panels, covered with trellises that will host climbing vines, contrast with the concrete.
The lower level of the two-story museum is sunk halfway below grade. A glass-enclosed information center (which can also host lectures and some exhibitions) is surrounded by a terrace accessed by stairs.
The main circulation for the museum is a series of ramps that are contained within the wrapper but not isolated from the elements.
The glazed wall of the lower-level multipurpose space offers views out to the beginning of the museum’s ramp system.
Internal stairs enclosed by wood-clad walls provide alternative circulation to the gallery reception area, which offers access into the galleries.
Pieces from the university's collection of Ukiyo-e prints are rotated from off-site storage and into carefully crafted display cases in one the musem's galleries. With black-stained wood floors, and black-painted walls and ceiling, the focus in the room is placed squarely on these "pictures of the floating world."