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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Architect thrilled to design concert hall in honor of pianist Argerich


BEPPU, Oita Pref. — As a longtime fan of Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, award-winning architect Hiroshi Naito, 61, was thrilled to be asked to design a concert hall in her honor in Beppu, Oita Prefecture.

News photo
Hiroshi Naito

"I have admired her since my school years. I will devote all my experience and knowledge to designing this building," Naito said.

The facility, Argerich's Haus, will be built in the popular hot springs resort where Argerich has worked as director of the Beppu Argerich Music Festival since 1998. It is scheduled for completion next May.

According to the Argerich Arts Foundation, a local support group for her activities, the facility will include a small concert hall with about 150 seats and a residential facility for traveling musicians, as well as rooms to exhibit Argerich's Steinway piano and materials from the city's music festivals.

"I'm thinking of creating a concrete wall like an eggshell and covering it with wood to add dimension to the building and provide visitors with a comfortable and relaxing space," Naito said.

He said that while a rigid ceiling and rigid walls would create great acoustics, the audience wouldn't feel as relaxed. Naito said he wants visiting musicians and fans from around the world to enjoy "the wooden architecture Japan is proud of."

"I'd be very happy if it becomes a facility loved as a meeting place for her fans and also young musicians who have learned from her and inherited her spirit," he said.

Naito, a Yokohama native, has won various awards for his works, including the Makino Museum of Plants and People in Kochi and the Sea-Folk Museum in Toba, Mie Prefecture.

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