What is the Kitakyushu Innovation Gallery & Studio?
The word “innovation” has a much broader meaning than simply “technical invention.” It indicates a new departure that becomes the driving force behind significant changes in lifestyles or the social system. In April 2007, based on this theme of “innovation,” the Kitakyushu Innovation Gallery & Studio (KIGS) opened in Yahata-Higashida, the first site of steel manufacturing in Japan’s modern age. Also known as the Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center, KIGS integrates technology with design to foster the development of new innovations that incorporate the wisdom of Kitakyushu pioneers of the past into development for the future.
Plan to build a historical museum documenting the production of steel in society as part of the Kitakyushu Renaissance Plan
Agreement with Nippon Steel to preserve Higashida’s first blast furnace as an historical site
Plan to establish four museums -- for industry and science, natural history, human history, and the environment
Plan to establish a museum of industry and technology in Kitakyushu
Basic implementation plan for museum
Start of construction
Official name decided: Kitakyushu Industrial Technology Aggregation & Preservation Center
Popular name decided: Kitakyushu Innovation Gallery & Studio Cooperative agreement with National Science Museum
2007 Apr. 21
The Kitakyushu Innovation Gallery & Studio (KIGS) is located among a group of museums in Higashida, Kitakyushu, and was designed to be easily accessible to the public. The facility gives people the chance of learning about the industrial past and present of the city of Kitakyushu through various encounters and experiences, helping to inspire the next generation.
The Urban Environment and Layout of KIGS: Past,
Present and Future Junctures
The Higashida district, where KIGS is located, has many types of commercial and cultural facilities, including such large-scale attractions as the Higashida First Blast Furnace and the Space World theme park, forming a distinctive, well-integrated urban environment.
The KIGS building differs from other facilities in this area, which are coordinated with the design of the Space World station. Its positioning was designed to preserve the historical urban axis along which the Higashida First Blast Furnace was built. It is also the structure closest to the furnace in a wide open space, and gives visitors a close-up view of the furnace and experience of its presence.
The building stands parallel to the Higashida First Blast Furnace, which lies on an urban axis that was preserved from the time of construction of the government-operated Yahata Steel Works at the beginning of the 20th century. Its close proximity to the furnace places the visitor physically at the heart of the historical industrial city of Kitakyushu and sets the stage for a future to be imagined.
KIGS Layout: Functionality for a Wide Variety of Programs
A diagonal grid made of steel creates the physical framework that encloses a single, multifunctional space. Areas such as the exhibition galleries, presentation studio, and library have views of an inner garden and hallways surrounded by glass in a special alignment. These rooms feature a flat arrangement to provide an unrestricted space for different types of programs and uses.
When entering the building, the entire public space can be seen from the entrance, giving a feel for the activities conducted at KIGS. This space is 64 meters long from the entrance, and one can experience the many facets of KIGS as one walks through it -- from the multipurpose space past the curtain, to the timeline gallery, inner garden, entrance, lounge, and library.
KIGS Space: A Simple Structure with an Open Feel
Located among several distinguished facilities, KIGS was designed to exude a simple but dignified presence. The walls and roof form a single, unique curved shape. This allows the presentation studio and gallery to have high ceilings, and encloses the library and other areas into a single space.
For the outer surface of the curved structure, a single system was employed that integrates triangular sections of glass and aluminum panels with a steel H-beam frame. This structure makes the building appear as a single mass. The interior space covered by this diagonal grid and glass surface has a highly unique, open feel.