Shigeru Ban flips a volcano on its head for Mt Fuji Heritage Center
Shigeru Ban's tribute to Japan's tallest mountain opened its doors over the holiday period, with the Mt Fuji World Heritage Center now welcoming visitors to the esteemed architect's newest landmark building.
Ban won a competition back in 2013 to design the new center, following Mt Fuji's listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The design tips its hat to the volcano's famous symmetry by taking the shape of an inverted cone, which offers unobstructed views of the typically snow-capped peak and its surroundings.
The upside-down pyramid is covered in an intricate timber lattice and, if caught at the correct angle in the surrounding waters, resembles the colors and shape of a Mt Fuji the right way up. Inside is an observation hall with views of the volcano, installations for visitors to learn about its history, and a spiraling slope up to viewing tower made to mimic climbing the mountain itself.
"Besides me, everyone who designed a roof resembling the Fuji Mountain — but I thought it's impossible to compete with the Fuji Mountain in front, so I did it the other way around," Ban told DesignBoom during an interview last month. "Inside, there is this kind of experience where you climb up the fuji mountain. Along a slope, we have a very beautiful light projection of the mountain. while you're climbing up, you can see the beautiful images of the different heights of the Fuji Mountain when you climb it. At the end of the slope, on the top floor, there is a penthouse with a sort of 'picture window' that frames the real Fuji mountain."
You can see more images of the Mt Fuji World Heritage Center in the gallery.