Antique Gallery Kazurasei

Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Hiroyuki Hirai

This antique gallery is located southeast of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace on Teramachi-dori, an avenue lined with venerable shrines and antique shops. The site is deep with a narrow frontage, a manner of building site that is typical of Kyoto. On this site, I placed a three-level volume.
Pivotal to the design are two voids inserted vertically in the center of the volume – a court and a skylight. The court, where light spills silently from above on a composition of water and stone, is almost a light court. The skylight, in contrast, is an interior space with a staircase that rises within uniform light filtered by shoji screens.
The court with its abstract composition and concrete materials, and the skylight with its tranquil light and the movement implied by its stairs – by placing these elements in confrontation in the center of the building, I sought to orchestrate the transition of spaces from the ground-level gallery to the second level. I was pursuing a building which, despite the blank expression of its facade, would contain a quality of interior space that was somehow excessive. This gallery is the result.