National Museum of Art Osaka

National Museum of Art OsakaThe National Museum of Art Osaka or NMAO is an underground art museum located in Nakanoshima, an island that is found between the Dojima and the Tosabori Rivers in Osaka, Japan. In Japanese, it is called the Kokuritsu Kokusai Bijutsukan, which roughly translates to National Museum of International Art.

Museum History

The original museum was designed by architect Arata Isozaki. The site of the structure was initially constructed the Expo Art Gallery for Expo ’70. The site was later on converted into the Expo Commemoration Park after the Expo, with the art gallery preserved for future art collections.

It was then re-opened in 1977as the NMAO. Due to the aging structures, the NMAO was temporarily closed in January 2004 and the ole museum demolished. The art collections were then transferred to the current location of the new museum in Nakanoshima.

Building Features

The new structure of the National Museum of Art, Osaka in itself is quite unique in that it is a subterranean art museum. It was designed by Cesar Pelli and is an example of architectural art. The first floor contains mainly the entrance hall and elevators while the function rooms are located underground.

What is notable about the museum is the piece of structural art piece built as part of the museum. The design structure can be likened to, according to Pelli, a number of reeds waving in the wind. The museum facilities are also right next to the Osaka Science Museum.


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