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Gunma Insect World

Kiryu, Japan
1 of 17

"The building structures will disappear in the greenery of the hills as the trees grow while the glass dome will glisten among the treetops. The aim of this project was to exceed the framework of 'a simple museum,' and to create a facility with actual close-to-home natural thickets where children could touch insects and the natural environment where they are being nurtured using their five senses." explained Tadao Ando

The Gunma Insect World is a research center located within a nature reserve. The pavilion was designed by Tadao Ando for observing insects in their natural habitat and is right in the center of the park.


Located on the south face of Mt. Akagi, the park is on a 48 hectare expanse of land known locally as the Fujiyama district of Niisatocho in Kiryu. Throught the park visitors can see serrated and sawtooth leaf oaks, fields, mulberry bushes, and other sorts of wild vegetation reminiscent of the Japanese countryside.

Arrangement of the spaces

It consists of two spacious zones. The first comprises a reception area, gallery, learning center, and laboratory while the second includes a huge greenhouse devoted to various ecological issues that also doubles as a recreation of a subtropical climate zone.

The observatory is in the southeast of the site near the entrance to a large nature park that is over 48 hectares in size.

An underground area contains a learning center as well as a display area and has a roof terrace that is protected by a giant glass dome with an aluminium framework. The terrace takes up one half of the volume with a glass curtain wall separating it from the greenhouse. The glass creates a sense of expansiveness and blurs the boundary between the structure and the natural world outside.

The underground area has multiple levels under a sloping ceiling and feels like a subterranean labyrinth. From the roof terrace visitors get a view of the park from the lake side, a wonderful setting for the open-air theater, which is its other role. Capable of accommodating 1500 people, performances can be held in any type of weather.


The novel design features a glass dome roof for the building, curved interior and exterior walls with exposed concrete, and a large pond. With the complicated design of the dome roof, 1,287 triangular panes of tempered glass with 2.5-meter sides were being used. Because of the fact, that 200 types of glass panes with slightly different shapes were being used, accurately installing these in the curved roof was one of the main points of the construction.

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  1. Takenaka Topics
  2. Kiryu International Exchange Association
mariathuroczy, December 5th, 2011
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