Overview of the Museum

Shoto, Shibuya, the home of the Shoto Museum of Art, is known as a quiet, upscale residential district. In the original plans, the height of the building was limited to up to 10 meters above ground on a building area of about 500 square meters. In order to accommodate not only the exhibition space but also requests from the local government, such as the installation of a hall for art classes and a library room for study and research under these conditions, Shirai kept the aboveground portion to just two stories and resolved the space issue by adding two stories below ground. Taking into account the museum’s location in a residential area, windows on the outer perimeter were also kept to a minimum. Instead, a structure was implemented in which light comes in through the central atrium.

Building overview
Location 2-14-14 Shoto, Shibuya, Tokyo
Site area 1,034.57㎡
Total floor area 2,027.18㎡
Building structure Reinforced concrete structure; two stories above ground and two below ground
Construction started December 21, 1978
Construction completed May 8, 1980
Museum opened October 1, 1981
Design Seiichi Shirai Architectural Institute
Construction work Takenaka Corporation (Tokyo Office)
Finish Exterior Walls Split-face Korean Kounseki granite rubble
Roof Sheet copper with sulfur-oxidized finish; Dutch lap method
Entrance Floor/Walls Granite
Ceiling Onyx (double-sided glass) luminous ceiling
Exhibition hall Floor Rubber tile
Walls Double-layered finger joint boards; Duessel finish with underlay
Ceiling Special upholstery
Lighting LED lighting with illuminance/color temperature adjustment function
Special gallery/Salon Musée Floor Wilton carpet with double felt underlay
Border Polished Kounseki granite
Walls Brazilian rosewood with Watco oil finish; partial Venetian velvet covering
Ceiling Special upholstery; large-sized decorative beams with outlets
Lighting LED lighting with illuminance/color temperature adjustment function
Exhibition space
Exhibition hall Area: 203 ㎡; Ceiling Height: 6.4 m; Walls: 38.7 m
Special gallery Area: 30 ㎡; Ceiling Height: 2.8 m; Walls: 11.0 m
Salon Musée Area: 148 ㎡; Ceiling Height: 3.3 mm; Walls: 32.0 m
Equipment details
Electrical Substation (Voltage: 6,600 V; Capacitance: 400 kVA), LED lighting with illuminance/color temperature adjustment function
Air-conditioning Air conditioner with humidity regulation function, air-cooled heat pump/chiller, electric water heater
Plumbing/sanitation Direct water supply system, local hot water system, combined drain
Fire safety Halon gas fire extinguishers (exhibition hall/Salon Musée/archive), indoor fire hydrant, sprinklers, automatic fire-alarm system, emergency broadcasting system, fire doors, etc.

Renovations in 2013

Renovations of the Shoto Museum of Art were carried out from June 17 to December 25, 2013. This was because with over thirty years having passed since the museum opened in 1981, part of the building frame as well as various equipment, such as the air-conditioning, plumbing, and lighting fixtures, had deteriorated due to age, making it difficult for the museum to maintain the appropriate standards of operation. Examples of the improvements include the replacement of the glass frame of the atrium at the center of the building and replacement of the air-conditioning equipment to create a better display environment. The lighting for the exhibition hall, Salon Musée, the upper façade, and the pool and fountain was also switched to LEDs.
In the course of the renovations, great care was taken to keep the museum as it was originally designed by Seiichi Shirai, such as by using materials that would maintain the museum’s look at the time of construction whenever possible in changes to the exterior and interior. The original furnishings from the time of the museum’s opening are also still in use. Although there have been some comments from visitors that the museum does not look all that different after the renovations, this could in fact be taken as evidence that Seiichi Shirai’s design remains preserved in pristine form.