National Museum of Western Art Makes UNESCO World Heritage List

On July 17, 2016, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) committee recognized buildings in seven countries for their innovation and influence in laying the foundation for modern architecture. The National Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park, Tokyo, and 16 other buildings designed by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier have been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

National Museum of Western Art. | 663highland

The National Museum of Western Art in Japan (NMWA) is the only structure in the country designed by the renowned architect. The museum is the premier public art gallery in the country specializing in art from Western traditions. The museum also houses the core art collection of Matsukata Kojiro (a Japanese businessman who devoted his life and fortune to amassing a collection of Western art). The NMWA was completed in 1959 and dedicated as a symbol of the resumed diplomatic ties between japan and France after World War II.

Le Corbusier or more formally known as Charles-Édouard  Jeanneret (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was an architect, writer, painter, designer, and urban planner, and is considered one of the pioneers of modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. During his five-decade-long career, he constructed buildings in Europe, India, North and South America, and Japan.

Le Corbusier was an avid urban planner whose vision was dedicated to providing better living conditions for residents of crowded cities. He was a founding member of Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM), a series of events and congresses arranged across Europe by the most prominent architects of the time. Its objective was to spread the principles of the Modern Movement focusing in all the main domains of architecture (such as landscape, urbanism, industrial design, and many others).

Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier described the city of the future as consisting of large apartment buildings isolated in a park-like setting on piers, “Cities in the Sky.” His theories were adopted by the builders of public housing in Europe and the United States. In Great Britain, Le Corbusier’s ideas were thought of as a cheaper method of providing public housing from the late 1950s.

The National Museum of Western Art will be the 20th World Heritage site in Japan and the first in central Tokyo.

Open Interior of the “Maison Blanche” (1912).| Eveline Perroud