Makino Museum of Plants andPeople by Hiroshi Naito

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Makino Museum of Plants and People


Architect: Hiroshi Naito

Located: Kochi, Japan.

The Makino Museum of Plants and People known in Japanese as Chikurin-ji, is a botanical garden, museum, and a library dedicated to the memory of the world famous botanist, Dr. Makino Tomitaro.



This building, a museum commemorating the late Dr Tomitaro Makino -a man known as the father of Japanese botany -stands outs ide Kochi city on a ridge of Mt Godai, behind Makino Botanical Park. The museum's chief purposes are to house the extensive library of books and specimens left by Dr. Makino, accomodate research using them, and make these materials more widely known to the public.


A building of wood construction was desired, as would befit Kochi Prefecture, a major Japanese timber-producing region. A wood building, it was felt, would also suitably commemorate Dr. Makino and be appropriate for a botanical garden. Kochi is known as a prefecture under frequent assault by typhoonss. A small mountaion, Godai performs as a bulwark against winds for Kochi City. Structurally, our challlenge therefore was to place a light building of wood construction on a mountain ridge exposed to strong winds and rains.


Because of complex land ownership, the building would be divided in two volumes connected by a 170 meter corridor -one for administration and research, and the other for a museum. Enclosing the circumference of each volume with reinforced concrete walls, we ran steel piping of about 35 centimeter and 26 centimeter diameter along the ridge and eaves, and spanned between them with laminated timber beams. Since the 422 laminated beams are positioned in response to a continually varying roof surface each differs in length and angle of connection. Beam fabrication was thus a highly complex, variable procedure that depended greatly on skilled carpentry. We employed cast metal joists to connect the laminated beams to the steel pipe at the ridge - a detail of great difficulty to produce but one enabling a precise fit of each wood beam to the metal joint.


In wind tunnel tests we simulated the potential effects of typhoons, determining a negative-pressure wind load of over a ton per square metre for some parts of the roof. Adjusting the building frame based on these calculations, we made decisions concerning roofing roofing materials and details of the supporting structure of the roof. Because the roof is placed low to the ground with eaves lower than the surrounding trees, the building will gain in capability to withstand winds the more the trees around the building grow back to height. As the forest slowly regenerates around the site, the building will merge with the forest and attain tranquil coexistance with the trees.

Wind tunnel model

The Windtunnel model (depicting the museum building we modeled)

Source: Hiroshi Naito Innerscape, 2006, Birhauser Publishing


Further Infomation

The Makino Museum garden's greenhouse houses about 200 species of plants, including several rare specimens which are popular with visitors, such as Victoria regina Lindl (from South America); N. rafflesiana Jack (a carnivorous plant); Dionea muscipula Ellis (also carnivorous); Hibiscus; " Senari" Banana and many more.

From the Kochi Online Sightseeing page

Kochi City

Kochi City is located on the southern side of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four major islands. Bordered by lush green mountains to the north, and blessed by the abundance of the Pacific Ocean to the south, Kochi is naturally rich and beautiful. A smallish city by Japanese standards, Kochi has its own unique country charm that is absolutely irresistible. Kochi is also the home of women's voting rights as well as the Japanese Liberty and People's Rights Movement.

From the Kochi Online homepage

Check out here for more info