Miho Museum: A Sacred Architectural Space in the Mountain

Situated amid the abundant natural beauty of the Shigaraki mountains, the Miho Museum was designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, best known for designing the glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Pei designed an evocative, serene approach to the museum inspired by the ethereal utopia described in the Taohua Yuan Ji (The Peach Blossom Spring), an ancient work written by Chinese poet Tao Yuanming. Visitors are led down a walkway enveloped by weeping cherry trees, pass through a tunnel and walk over a suspension bridge before arriving at the museum. After passing through the gracefully arching tunnel, visitors get their first view of the museum from the hip-and-gable style roof of its entrance situated at the far side of a bridge spanning a valley.

Stepping into the understated entrance, visitors find themselves enclosed by gentle honey-colored limestone walls while light pours in from a glass roof amid a panorama of mountains rolling gradually into the distance. The entire roof is constructed from space frames made up of geometric combinations of triangles, a shape selected for its simplicity. The large space formed by the roof creates outstanding structural beauty.As Pei has stated, “I think you can see a very conscious attempt on my part to make the silhouette of the building comfortable in the natural landscape.”

Edited By Wenyue Xi