Day 348/365 of Steel – Art Tower Mito

Opening of the Art Mito Centre Tower on March 22, 1990.

Art Tower Mito is at the center of Mito city, and is popular among people around the city as “geijutsukan (center of arts)”. Art Tower Mito opened 1999 at Mito in Ibaraki prefecture. This art complex center with it’s beautiful plaza, has a contemporary art gallery, a theater, and a concert hall. It was designed by Arata Isozaki.

Art Tower Mito
Fig 1: Art Tower Mito
Photo: © Jun Tazawa courtesy of the Art Tower Mito

Having opened in 1990 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mito’s designation as an official city, the ATM complex has served as the venue for a wide variety of planned events, including musical concerts, dramatic productions, and art exhibitions.

The Tower is a symbol of this center. It is composed of 28 contiguous regular tetrahedron sections set on top of each other. The 57 triangular surfaces are covered with titanium panels. It’s built 100m high and has an observation deck on its top. The backing frames are composed of bent 1.5mm stainless steel assembled into a unit.

Moka structural model of the Art Tower Mito
Fig 2: Moka structural model of the Art Tower Mito
Photo: ©

Buildings ordinarily feature a quadrangular structure composed of pillars and crossbeams, and some have braces inserted diagonally to produce triangles for additional strength. However, the ATM Tower is entirely composed of triangles, making its structure particularly efficient.

Titanium was chosen for the façade of this tower because it captures the architect’s vision to ‘choose high-quality materials to build architecture that last’. Titanium is known as a maintenance-free material for its high resistance to corrosion and weathering.

Art Tower Mito
Fig 3: Art Tower Mito
Photo: © Kikukawa

It is 60% lighter in weight than steel and is superior to other metals in strength and workability. Despite such superior properties, the usage of titanium is limited in architecture for its high material cost. The Art Mito Centre Tower was the first large-scale titanium project in Japan.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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