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Le Corbusier and the Age of Purism

EOAs of 25 March, 2019, there are still 8 more weeks to go until the exhibition of Le Corbusier at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo will finish.  This is the exhibition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the museum which was designed by the world renown architect, Le Corbusier.  Particularly at this time of the year, the location of the museum, Ueno is beautiful with the full bloom of cherry blossoms.  So if you happen to be in Japan, why don’t you take a walk in Ueno?

Models of Architecture of Le Corbusier

On the first floor of the museum, the models of Le Corbusier’s buildings were exhibited.  This is the only place you are allowed to take photos.

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He was a painter before an architect.  So there were many drawings and paintings he made at his early time.  Unfortunately I could not take those photos but I found that the taste of his drawings was like that of Braque and other cubism painters.


The Museum Designed by Le Corbusier

The National Museum of Western Art is one of the sites designated as World Cultural Heritage.  UNESCO officially inscribed the Museum in 2016 as “the architectural work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement” as a part of his 17 works around the world.  The museum has a large collection of Impressionists paintings collected by Kojiro Matsukata, a business man of 19th and early 20th century.  Le Corbusier designed the building in 1959.  The museum has an annex  designed by his apprentice Kunio Maekawa in 1979.

The exhibits of Impressionists are gorgeous without doubts but the architecture itself worth visiting.  It shows the “Five Points of Architecture” proposed by Le Corbusier; 1) pilotis, 2) the free designing of the ground plan, 3) the free design of the facade, 4) ribbon window and 5) roof gardens.  I thought there was no roof garden in this museum but it seems there is.  But unfortunately you have no access to the roof garden.


The Work by Le Corbusier’s Apprentice

Kunio Maekawa, the apprentice of Le Corbusier worked together to build the museum.  And in front of the museum is his another work, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, the concert hall.  You can see that the appearance has a similarity with the National Museum of Western Art.  Because it contains Le Corbusier’s “Five Points of Architecture”.

The concert hall designed by Kunio Maekawa, the apprentice of Le Corbusier

Enjoy the Flowers in Ueno Park

Uno Park is one of the most popular cherry-blossom-viewing spots in Tokyo.  If you visit the exhibition of Le Corbusier either at the end of March or early April, take a walk in Ueno Park.  You don’t need any explanation – just enjoy the photos!

The last weekend of March and the first weekend of April must be the peak time to enjoy the flowers.


For More Information on National Museum of Western Art

Address: 7-7 Uenokoen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 9:30am – 5:30pm (closed on Mondays and 28 Dec. – 1 Jan.)
Open until 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Admission: ¥500 for adults and ¥200 for college students

Website: https://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/


3 thoughts on “Le Corbusier and the Age of Purism”

  1. Sartenada says:

    Great post. Thank You sharing it with us.

    Have a wonderful day!

    1. WBJ says:

      Thank you very much, Sartenada!

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