It is like a temple of art. Chichu Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando

The Chichu Art Museum designed by Tadao Ando is located on the island of Naoshima. Located off the coast of Honsiu Island in Japan, the island is a place where art and architecture merge with the surrounding landscape in a remarkably harmonious way. We are taken to the place by photographer Magdalena Korzewska, who loves to capture in the lens of her camera the corners of the world whose architecture impresses her the most.

Tadao Ando, regarded as one of the most important contemporary architects, is a master at combining minimalist form and a unique approach to light and space. His works, characterised by simplicity, elegance and a deep respect for the surrounding nature, fit perfectly into the context of Naoshima Island. This magical place, also known as the ‘Island of Art’, has become the canvas for the architect’s works.

The photographs show the various stages of Tadao Ando’s work on Naoshima. The Benesse House Museum was first designed in the early 1990s, and his most recent project, opened in 2022, is the Valley Gallery, which presents Yayoi Kusama’s work ‘Narcissus Garden’.

The Chichu Art Museum project is a unique example of a minimalist approach to architecture. The entire museum is partially built into the hillside, creating a nuanced dialogue between nature and structure. Chichu means within the earth and the name flawlessly captures the character of the building. The use of natural light, which penetrates through subtly designed openings to create changing lighting effects within the exhibition spaces, is a defining element of the project. The Chichu Art Museum is the venue for the display of just a few works of art, by Claude Monet, Walter De Maria and James Turrell. The museum’s concept is based on visitors being able to experience art in an unusual way, thanks to the tranquil surroundings and carefully composed spaces. It is certainly one of the most remarkable examples of how architecture can interact with works of art to create an unforgettable aesthetic experience. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited on the museum grounds. The shots only show the entrance to the museum.

The next photos are from the entrance to the Lee Ufan Museum, which features a monographic exhibition of works by Korean painter and sculptor Lee Ufan, and stills from a small museum dedicated to the work of Tadao Ando. From the outside, the museum looks like a traditional local house, blending in perfectly with the neighbourhood. However, the interior of the building combines traditional décor with the architect’s signature concrete. These contrasting elements of past and present are very intriguing and perfectly capture the essence of the architect’s designs.

In addition to the aforementioned Yayoi Kusama and her several works on the island, another Japanese artist has left a clear imprint on Naoshima. Hiroshi Sugamoto, presents his series of works Seascapes at the Benesse House Museum. The photographer depicts horizons seen over calm waters. These frames are almost abstract in their simplicity, focusing on the interaction between water and sky, between space and time. This approach is in line with the philosophy that is present at Naoshima, where architecture, art and nature come together in a harmonious dialogue. The recently established Time Corridors Gallery is dedicated to the artist and features dozens of Sugamoto’s works including a minimalist, cubic glass Mondrian teahouse that came to the island after residencies in Venice, Paris and Kyoto.

You can find other places photographed by Magdalena Korzewska on here:




Magdalena Korzewska – passionate about travel, photography and architecture. A multiple participant and winner of the Gdynia Modernism in Lens competition. She presented her architectural frames during the Wojnowski Festival of Photography in 2022. She is a service photographer of architecture and interiors. She has visited Japan three times. Naoshima has stolen her heart and she is already planning to return to the archipelago in 2025, when the next Art Triennale will be held.

photos: Magda Korzewska(

Also read: Japan | Trivia | Architect | Art | Museum | Culture | whiteMAD on Instagram

Latest content on the site

Beauty is all around you