Silver Space Frame Supporting the Glass Roof

An architect is a creative master who gives birth to a new space. For example, when the architect guides us from a narrow space to suddenly a spacious area, we are overwhelmed by the dynamic impression of being transported to a different place.

I. M. Pei uses this technique everywhere in the Miho Museum, the entrance hall is perhaps the most striking.

When the large doors with its round window quietly slide open to the left and the right, we come upon a wind-shielded room beneath the louvers and are bathed in natural light. As we enter further through the inner doors, the glass ceiling appears to rise. Eventually, the detailed louvers begin to resonate as the field of vision increases and the complex angles constantly change as if unfolding the scenes of a beautiful narrative picture scroll. The surrounding space radiated upon by the outside light is filled with a delicate sense of rhythm, causing one to wonder what creates this ambience.

I believe this has to do with the overall balance of this room. The silver space frames supporting the glass roof of the entrance hall were greatly altered since its initial conception, because Dr. Pei saw a wooden model of the actual design and realized that cylinder joints, which functioned as connecting pieces in the space room, and the cast steel beams that extended from them were different from his vision.

The original architectural plan had already been completed, when Dr. Pei asked, “Can we change the circumferences of the space frames and their connecting parts?” His modifications meant an almost complete rewrite of the plans, which was already several phone books thick. Although the deadline for the building permit was already at hand, Dr. Pei insisted, “No, no, this is not good enough.” Mr. Sato of the architectural firm, Kibowkan International, finally understood that the entire mood of the entrance hall depended on this change and agreed to cooperate.

I heard that everyone had to put off their holiday, however, they completed the revisions and received the building permit. And the entrance hall, which was finally built, now fascinates all who visit the Miho Museum. A mysterious rhythm fills the entire space, while the lines and coloration of the space frames and louvers capture the many hues of the sky expanding in the back, the movements of the clouds, the tiny particles of light, and the speed of the wind throughout the day, like a single organic entity embracing and speaking to us.

I express my respect and gratitude to the genius of I. M. Pei and to all those who have made this space possible

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