Hong Kong House
Echigo-Tsumari Art Field, Japan

Integrating an art gallery into a rural village in Japan

©Hiroshi Noguchi

The Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale is the largest outdoor art festival in Japan, with the vision of revitalizing the ailing rural communities through art and exhibitions. LAAB won the competition to design Hong Kong House— a gallery and an artist residence— to host Hong Kong artists and their work in Echigo, Japan.

©Echigo Tsumari ©LAAB

Humble architecture

Located at the periphery of Tsunan Town in Niigata Prefecture, Hong Kong House fills up the north corner of a pocket garden in a peaceful neighborhood surrounded by local dwellings. Closely overseeing the Kamigo Clove Theater, one of the major venues for Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Hong Kong House is a new community hub for Kamigo neighbourhood in Tsunan and a major platform for Hong Kong artists to share their works in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field.

Instead of building a landmark, we integrated Hong Kong House into this peaceful and serene village. Inspired by the green and picturesque landscape, we used tree branching form as the main structural element to support the gable roof and the floor of the artists quarter. Animated by the faceted and titled entrance façade, the simple pitched roof geometry resonates with the many vernacular structures in the neighbourhood.

©Hiroshi Noguchi
©Yip Chun Hang

Withstanding harsh winter

Echigo has a long snowing season, with over 6 months covered in snow per year. The tight budget of this project did not include snow-melting services during winter. The pitched roof was carefully calculated so that the snow can stay on the roof during winter to avoid snowfall from blocking the main road.

©Art Front Gallery ©LAAB

Connecting artists and visitors

The first floor has a six-meter-high gallery space, curating artwork alongside nature. It also has a communal kitchen, designed to encourage cultural interaction through sharing art and food. The artist’s living space is on the second floor, with a mezzanine overlooking the gallery space. Visitors are encouraged to share their experiences through food and arts.

©Hiroshi Noguchi ©LAAB
©Art Front Gallery

Cultural exchange through craftsmanship

Locally sourced timber, Unoma Sugi, was used for the entrance facade and artist’s quarter. Galvanized metal cladding— another ubiquitous material in local village architecture— was adopted to encompass the rectilinear white gallery. This intriguing duality houses an exhibition space, an artist residence, and a community kitchen. Under the tree, Hong Kong-crafted galvanized roller shutter, letterbox, and neon-like signage orchestrate a peaceful song in nature.

©Yip Chun Hang
©Yip Chun Hang

Japan Good Design Award

Winner (Public facility)

Architizer A+

Finalist (Architecture + Art)

Design for Asia Award

Bronze (Environmental Design)

HKIA Medal of the Year

Merit (Building outside Hong Kong)

Architecture, Interior Design, Branding


Echigo, Japan

1,076 sqft

Art Promotion Office, LCSD

大平木工有限会社 大平政志, 桑原工務所, Art Front Gallery

Chun Hang Yip, Otto Ng, Reagan Lee, Humphrey Keung, Catherine Cheng, Tat Lau, CK Wong, Jesse Hao, Janis Poon, Kelvin Lam, Chloe Yau, Adam Kor, Martin Lau