Miho Museum, Kyoto

Miho Museum is located in southeast of Kyoto, Japan. I.M. Pei was commissioned by Mrs. Koyama in 1991.

When Pei saw the mountainous location that the Miho Museum would be, he recalled a classic Chinese poetry entitled the “Peach Blossom Spring” written by Tao Yuan Ming in the 4th century. Pei’s idea was bringing that Peach Blossom discovery joy of the fishman to the arrival of the Miho Museum site. 


The most formidable difficulties was providing access to the mountainous site. The next one was to accommodate the 187,500 sq st of space and to preserve the landscape of the mountains.

mountains of Shigaraki


Pei decided to provide a theatrical sense of arrival using a combination of a 660 ft tunnel dug through an adjacent mountain and a 400 ft bridge to achieve the goal of the Peach Blossom Spring and the access to the mountainous site. Thus, he designed a single “king post” set to support this bridge, then stretched from one angle into the mountain slope.

bridge -2

To preserve the landscape of the mountains, Pei’s solution was to remove the top of the mountain where the museum was to be located; and after inserting the building, he wanted to replace the mountain along with 7,000 trees and other plantings.  As a result, 80% of the building is below ground.

Inside of the Museum:


“I think you can see a very conscious attempt on my part to make the silhouette of the building comfortable in the natural landscape.”   — I.M. Pei


“Having won every award of any consequence in his art, Pei stands alone as the most distinguished member of his Late-Modernist generation still in practice. And what most distinguishes his practice is that it has never ceased to grow, or to change. ”   When Carter Wiseman made this remark, Pei was already 84 years old.

miho-path-1 miho.or.jp

Photos credit:  http://www.miho.or.jp/english/architec/architec.htm


  • When Mr. Pei completed this massive architecture in 1997, he was 80 years old.
  • Pei convinced Mrs. Koyama to expand her collection to showcasing the Silk Route presenting the culture link that stretched from the Middle East through India, China, and Korea. Thus, Pei was also instrumental in selecting the collection pieces.
  • Reference: I.M. Pei : a profile in American architecture / Carter Wiseman

Thanks to Frizz for hosting the A-Z Challenge. Be sure to read Frizz MMM Challenge and other entries.

Thank you for visiting 🙂 If you would like to see a few more I.M, Pei’s designs, click the photo below:

An Architect of His Time

An Architect of His Time

suzhou m-pbs.org-1

Still Go Home Again

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