Osaka, Japan | 2017


The design of the Osaka New Museum of Art represents a unique opportunity to implement a fundamentally new museum typology which will connect the movement and life of public space to the flows of the museum.  Radically reimagining the museum building as an elevated platform for a linked series of open 24-hour public art and event plazas will enhance the relationship of the Osaka New Museum of Art to the National Museum of Osaka, sectionally connecting this enlarged cultural precinct to the riverfront esplanade, Osaka University campus, neighboring streets and buildings.


At the heart of the Osaka New Museum of Art is the spectacular Passage Crystal.  It is both the symbolic center of the museum as well as the functional nexus of flows of the general public, museum goers, and service functions of the museum.  The Passage Crystal is a covered outdoor atrium over the main passage on the entry level.  Approaching the Osaka New Museum of Art from the public art and event plazas of the roof level, one enters the lobby of the main gallery spaces.  This is also the starting point of the Passage Crystal, a gently descending public street, which distributes into the Library, Café, Museum Shop, Auditorium and finally delivers you into the main level of the passage event space.  From there, convenient public elevators deliver you to the lobby of the main gallery spaces and the public art and event plazas of the roof level.  Those approaching the museum from the riverfront esplanade ascend a green embankment under the museum, which houses a café overlooking the river, continuing on this path you are delivered midway up the atrium overlooking the passage event space below and with a convenient access to the galleries above.


The public outdoor roof plazas in effect are the forecourts to the museum gallery spaces within.  All gallery spaces (Common Exhibition space, Temporary Exhibition room, and Collection Exhibition rooms) are all on one level allowing for greatest flexibility in exhibition modes.  These can simultaneously house elements of the permanent collection as well as the capacity to be flexibly subdivided for any temporary exhibition desired.  Moreover the museum has the option of temporarily closing off public access to the roof plaza above the galleries for extending indoor exhibitions out-of-doors or for private events.

Project Info

Finalist International Competition  |  Gross Floor Area: 18,000m²  |  Type: Contemporary Art Museum  |  Structure: Multiple


Project Credits

Joint Venture

Azusa Sekkei Co., Ltd. &  RUR Architecture DPC



Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto


Design Team

Michael Overby, Hilary Simon, Ryosuke Imaeda, Jasmine Lee


Interns and Assistants

Masato Kato, Seohee Lee, Taylor Fulton, Seika Kawase, Jose Gutierrez


Structural Engineer

ARUP, Brian Markham, PE. 77 Water St, New York NY 10005 USA


Museum Consultant

Garbers & James


Mechanical Engineer& Cost Estimation

Azusa Sekkei CO., Ltd.

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