017 Gunma Music Center
- Antonin RAYMOND
- The city of Takasaki, in Gunma and its citizen jointly funded the construction of a major music hall. A centrally located site where a feudal castle had once stood was chosen, and the design commission was given to Antonin Raymond, a Czech architect of Bohemian origin who came to Japan via the U.S. with Frank Lloyd Wright as his assistant. Because the budget for the hall was limited, he economized the structural system by utilizing a series of 12cm thin, reinforced concrete plates in identical dimensions to be connected in accordion folds, providing a maximum span of 60m. Raymond cited three objectives; first, to be economical by providing a structure with a long life span to show respect for the citizens sponsorship; second, to design a unified hall space in the spirit of democracy with equally good sightlines and acoustics for every one of the 2000 seats; and third, to maintain a low overall profile without having a stage area tower for flies in respect of the site’s historic connotations. In nearly 40 years of his career in Japan, this building, completed in 1961, qualifies as one of the most important works of RAYMOND.