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Japanese mountain tunnel becomes art in spectacular architectural installation

Inspired by the elements

Tunnel with reflective water on the floor
“Water” lookout.
Nacasa & Partners Inc

Give an architect a tunnel, and it becomes so much more than a hole in the earth. Some proof: MAD Architects’ recent work on the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel, a 2,500-foot pathway bored through the rock formations of Japan’s famous Kiyotsu Gorge.

Map of tunnel Nacasa & Partners Inc

MAD renovated the tunnel for the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Triennale art festival, turning it into a series of eye-catching lookouts and installations that are in and of themselves pieces of art. Each lookout is themed around a natural element—wood, metal, earth, fire, and water—and has a design to match.

Wooden cafe with visitor sitting near a small pool
“Wood” cafe.
Nacasa & Partners Inc

Wood, for example, is a small cafe built from cedar wood that slopes upward into a circus tent-like tip. Inside, there’s a hot spring where visitors can soak their feet in preparation for their tunnel journey.

Tunnel with reflective mirrors and orange lights
“Fire” lookout.
Nacasa & Partners Inc

The fire lookout features round mirrors backlit by a fiery orange hue that create a molten drop-like pattern on the curved ceiling.

Grey tunnel with one-way mirror
“Metal” installation.
Nacasa & Partners Inc

The journey ends with the water, or “Light Cave,” lookout, which has a shallow pool of water on the floor that reflects the outside view. MAD designed the spaces to celebrate Japan’s landscape, but we have to admit, the interior might rival the already spectacular natural views.

Tunnel glowing with red light
“Earth” installation.
Nacasa & Partners Inc

Via: ArchDaily