Shigeru Ban's Fujisan World Heritage Center

POSTED ON: March 5, 2018

Photo by Hiroyuki Hirai
Photo by Hiroyuki Hirai

The recently completed Fujisan World Heritage Center in Fujinomiya sits opposite a picture-perfect view of the iconic mount Fuji. Designed by Shigeru Ban Architects, whose principal, Shigeru Ban (AR’84) describes the project as a “symbolic building” was erected in honor of the designation of Mount Fuji as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building, which features a wood lattice cone and reflecting pool, is at once a tribute to and meditation on the iconic mountain that is so essential to Japanese identity.

The $33 million project functions as a visitor center as well as a museum that holds exhibition galleries, a movie theater, a café, library, lecture hall and administrative offices. With a ramp that spirals around the interior of the concrete cone of the structure, the Fujisan World Heritage Site echoes the geometry of Mount Fuji’s conic shape and alludes to the experience of ascending the mountain, with the structure terminating in a viewing gallery with a rooftop observation hall that perfectly frames the mountain itself.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.