© Brett Boardman Photography

Australia House // Andrew Burns Architects

Niigata, Japan

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

Text description provided by the architects.

Australia House is a gallery, studio and atelier in the ‘snow country’ of Niigata Prefecture, approximately three hours north of Tokyo. The building replaces a previous structure which collapsed in a powerful aftershock on March 12, 2011. The Australian Embassy Tokyo, Tokamachi City Government and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial resolved quickly to construct a new building and it stands as a symbol of healing and transformation in this beautiful area of Japan.

The design synthesises Japanese and Australian architectural traditions, incorporating elements of both the Australian Georgian farmhouse and the Japanese Minka.

© Andrew Burns Architects

© Andrew Burns Architects

© Andrew Burns Architects

© Andrew Burns Architects

A steeply pitched roof rises towards the daikoku-bashira, symbolically functioning as the support of the structure and becoming a charged element within the gallery space. Perception of the building alternates between the familiar presence of a rural dwelling and that of an art object. The interiors form a large ‘perception device’, heightening views of the surrounding landscape and creating opportunities for art installation.

© Brett Boardman Photography

© Brett Boardman Photography

© Andrew Burns Architects

© Andrew Burns Architects

The dynamic triangular form creates a long dimension and widening perspective within compact spaces.
During winter, the site can experience 1.5m of snow during a single day, and this was a key consideration in the design, with the roof pitching steeply. This, coupled with the requirement for a single material structure in order to obtain fast track planning approval, has resulted in an innovative and very robust timber structure, capable of withstanding massive snow loads and functioning as an emergency shelter if required in future.

Photography copywright Brett Boardman Photography.

© Andrew Burns Architects

© Andrew Burns Architects

© Andrew Burns Architects

© Andrew Burns Architects

Australia House Gallery

Read more articles by Architizer
© Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Kimbell Art Museum Expansion // Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Fort Worth, TX, United States

Photo Credit: Jeff Sauers - © Adjaye Associates

Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library // Adjaye Associates

3660, Alabama Avenue Southeast, Washington, DC, United States

+