Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, project: Shigeru Ban
Project: Shigeru Ban Architects; Structure and MEP: Arup; Lighting Design: Lighting Planners Associates; Landscape Design: Studio Onsite; Fire Consultant: Akeno Facility Resilience; Acoustic: Nagata Acoustics; QS: Akane Architectural Consultants; Sign: Nippon Design Center; Exhibition content director: Shinichi Takemrua; Exhibition design director: Edwin Schlossberg; Exhibition design/installation: Tanseisha; Photos: Hiroyuki Hirai
Shigeru Ban’s design for the new Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center was selected from 238 entries in a competition commissioned shortly after Fuji was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.
Located 20 miles southwest of Mt. Fuji (3,776 m) in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, the sculptural building pays homage to Fuji with its inverted latticed cone that mimics the shape of the famous dormant volcano.
The building, with exterior walls of locally-sourced latticed wood, is based on an inverted image of Mt. Fuji, so when it is reflected in the large pool of water in front of it, the reflection looks like the mountain. The Mt. Fuji reflected in the water is a symbolic representation of Fuji as a “mountain of water.”
The 3,400-m2 facility also includes an exhibition room with a 4K theater and a touch screen with clips explicating the beliefs, culture, and nature of Mount Fuji.
Inside the building shaped like an inverted mountain is a 193-meter spiral curved slope which leads gradually from the first floor up to the fifth.
Viewing the exhibits as they ascend the slope, visitors can enjoy a virtual taste of the experience of climbing the mountain.
When they reach the top (fifth) floor, there is an observation hall with a large picture window offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the real Mt. Fuji, which changes its expression from moment to moment.
Spring water from Mt. Fuji is drawn into the Centre building and used as an air conditioning heat source, and is then channeled to the Reflecting Pool in front of the building, architecturally conveying the cycle of water on Mt. Fuji.