Australia House is a design competition for a gallery, studio and atelier in the 'snow country' of Niigata Prefecture, approximately three hours north of Tokyo.
The competition was run by the Australian Embassy Tokyo, Tokamachi City Government and the Echigo-Tsumari Triennale to replace a previous structure which collapsed in a powerful aftershock on March 12, 2011.
During winter, the site can experience 1.5m of snow during one day, and this was a key consideration in the design, with a steep pitched roof, as well as internal platforms and external access provided at various levels in relation to the snow fall.
The building internalises the fluidity of the surrounding landscape whilst externally providing a stark contrast to the landscape with its pure geometric form.
The idea of moulding the facade and structure to incorporate circulation and studio platform space as one visual expression frees the internal space to allow for a large adaptable gallery space within.