The Toyo Ito Architecture Museum in Imabari is the first museum in Japan dedicated to the work of an individual architect. The museum overlooks the Seto Inland Sea on the island of Omishima part of the city of Imabari. The exterior of the building is covered with steel sheeting and is shaped like the deck of a ship.
Construction of the museum was nearly complete when the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, 2011 devastating vast areas of the country to the northeast. Confronted by the reality of entire towns and villages wiped off the map by the tsunami or abandoned in the wake of the nuclear plant crisis in Fukushima, designers have been forced to reexamine the blind faith in technology upon which communities, the economy and society were built. The same applies to their approach to architecture and city planning; In the wake of those disasters, they felt their views on how to build cities and buildings should be reset back to zero and start over again.
In light of the circumstances surrounding the birth of the Ito Museum, the opening exhibition was titled A see-worthy vessel. Like a ship embarking from the port city of Imabari with a cargo of dreams of architecture for the future, the museum is setting sail on a new voyage into the unknown.