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New Kengo Kuma-designed museum makes beautiful use of wood

The Odunpazari Modern Museum in northwest Turkey looks like a high-design Jenga set

A large golden building made from intersecting wooden volumes. each looking like stacked beams. NAARO

Does a new art museum exist if it’s not designed by a starchitect? Let’s take stock: The Guggenheim Bilbao has Frank Gehry; the Whitney has Renzo Piano; the Louvre Abu Dhabi has Jean Nouvel; and now, the newly opened Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM) comes courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates.

Situated in the center of Eskişehir, Turkey, the OMM is a gorgeously modern structure among the city’s historic Ottoman-style architecture. The facade is a series of interlocking timber boxes that look like a high-design Jenga set.

A ramp featuring a series of angled stairs lead up to a modern timber building surrounded by traditional houses with tile roofs. NAARO

“We were deeply inspired by the history, culture, people and streetscape of Odunpazari,” said Yuki Ikeguchi, a partner at KKAA. “We wanted the building to resonate on many levels.”

Like the firm’s work on the V&A Dundee, the OMM plays with levels and angles, with the timber boxes rotated so they create a fortress of wood. Inside, the 48,437-square-foot museum will house more than 1,000 pieces of contemporary art. One of the building’s most striking interior features is a central atrium where the timber boxes meet, creating a rotating channel of light and wood that’s almost an art piece unto itself.

A view up the tImber atrium shows stacks of twisted wood culminating in a skylight. NAARO
A gallery space with colorful square-shaped artwork on the walls surrounds a central atrium. NAARO