Shigeru Ban’s Mt. Fuji Visitors Center Flips the Mountain Upside Down

Fujisan

(Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects)

In the summer of 2013, Mt. Fuji was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation was of the cultural rather than the natural variety, in part because of the way the mountain has “inspired artists and poets.” Japanese architect Shigeru Ban plans to add a quite literal architectural chapter to this legacy of inspiration in the form of a visitor center commemorating the mountain’s recently-minted status.

The_Fuji_reflects_in_Lake_Kawaguchi,_seen_from_the_Misaka_pass_in_the_Kai_province

Mount Fuji reflects in Lake Kawaguchi, seen from the Misaka Pass in Kai Province from Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mt. Fuji

Ban’s design takes Fuji’s iconic silhouette as its centerpiece and then inverts it, generating an upside-down lattice cone surrounded by a 46,000-square-foot glass cube.

The building is set to be located in Shizuoka prefecture of Japan and will offer views of the nearby mountain. A surrounding pool of water reflects the structure’s central cone, restoring the right-side up vision of its formal source material.

A committee lead by the Ohara Museum of Art selected Ban’s plan ahead of 238 competing entries for the project. Construction on the $23.5 million structure will begin in 2015.

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