The project is located inside the dam of the Osaka port, where hundreds of ships pass through daily. Some important buildings such as the A.T.C. (Asian Trading Center) , W.T.C. (World Trading Center) and Birds Sanctuary are located around the site.
In December 1997, a tunnel under the sea for both cars and subway trains was inaugurated, aiming to link this area to Osaka’s City center. This project is considered as the last developments in that area.
The architect created a 30,000m2 basin on which he erected a magnificent sphere 70 meters in diameter made of glass and steel, designed to be perceived as floating on water.
The museum is composed of three entities; a 5000m2 entrance building located on shore, the 14,000m2 actual museum floating above water, and finally a 1000m2 tunnel that links both buildings located underground.
Beside from providing the access to the project, the entrance building plays host to the administrative functions, technical facilities, and storage for the artwork. A planned procession induces the visitors to go from this building into a 60m long dimmed shaft staged at the bottom of the sea and arrive into the museum. They are channeled into an escalator that takes them to the first floor where they land under the cockpit of an ancient ship.
The visitors are channeled further up to the top floor of the museum through transparent lifts that lets them enjoy both the view to the sea as well as the general view into the museum. They visit all the exhibition spaces while making their way down towards the ground floor.
The spherical structure is called a “lamella grid” composed of a series of flat lozenges, which become smaller as the sphere becomes higher. The glass is held by a ‘ten point system’ and the joints are silicone base without any frame, the architect wanting the sphere to look like a crystal.
Paul Andreu has undeniably the ingenious talent to create notorious landmarks. His projects are well defined and highly recognizable. The impact their environment and contribute in enhancing the identity of the cities where they reside. This museum is a perfect example of the architect’s vision and the potential of what he is capable to achieve.
Project Description and Credits:
Name: Osaka Maritme Museum, Suminoe-Ku Osaka Japan
Total Area: 20 000 m2
Client : Osaka City Osaka Port Bureau
Architects : Paul Andreu Architect Japan
Paul Andreu, François Tamisier, Masakazu Bokura (Paris), Tsuneo Nakanishi, Akito Oochi (Osaka) With the contribution of De Hugh Dutton
Metallic Structure and inside the sphere HVAC Ove Arup Japan . Concrete Structure and outside the sphere HVAC: De La Sphère Tohata Architects and Engineers . Lighting: Lpa