Born in 1950, Hiroshi Naito is an architect from Yokohama, Japan. Naito Architect & Associates, a Tokyo-based architectural firm, is his company. From 1976 to 1978, he worked at Fernando Higueras in Madrid, Spain, as a chief architect after receiving a Master of Architecture from Waseda University. Having returned to Japan in 1979, he worked for Kikutake Architects until 1981, when he established Naito Architect & Associates. Naito is an emeritus professor at the University of Tokyo. He is a quiet but widely acclaimed Japanese architect known for everything from intimate homes to enormous train stations and museums.” As a theorist, Hiroshi Naito aims to design architecture that will stand the test of time. It is the architect’s belief that the protoform (a home for an individual) must give way to the protoscape (a place for people to dream about).

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Hiroshi Naito_©

He is an understated artist, just like his work. “I have never been marked by any exceptional talent,” he wrote in the introduction to an exhibition he curated in 2014. “I believe that anybody can do the things that I can do”.

Architecture is the place where the lives of the people who live within it dwell, and the architecture itself comes to life as the memories of the space and time experienced by the people cohere to it.

– Hiroshi Naito

Sea Folk Museum

Technical Information

  • Architects: Naito Architects & Associates
  • Location: Toba, Mie Prefecture, Japan
  • Typology: Cultural Architecture / Museum
  • Project Year: 1992
  • Total floor area: Collection: 2,026 + Exhibition Hall: 1,898
  • Material: Wood, Reinforced Concrete
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Sea Folk Museum_©
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Interior of Sea Folk Museum_©

The Sea Folk Museum was completed in 1992 by the Japanese architect Hiroshi Naito and had a laminated timber roof measuring 18.5 meters wide. Through a central skylight, sunlight illuminates the fishing boats and exhibits in this expansive space. From 1/1 to 1/2000, Naito’s design stance has been consistent and characterized by a breadth of vision. A building’s components and details are referred to as 1/1, while the building’s environment is referred to as 1/2,000. The uniqueness of Naito’s structures lies in his ability to unify apparent polar extremes. This challenges us to consider the future course of architecture.

Shimane Arts Center

Technical information

  •     Architects: Naito Architects and Associates
  •     Location: Shimane Prefecture Masuda, Japan
  •     Total floor area: 19,252
  •     Materials: Structure reinforced concrete, Precast Concrete, Steel frame
  •     Scale: Underground, first floor 

+ 2 floors

  •     Project year: 2005
  •     Site Area: 36,564.16m²
  •     Typology : Cultural Architecture / Museum + Theater + Auditorium
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Shimane Art center_©
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Ceramic texture_©

Shimane Arts Center by Hiroshi Naito, one of Japan’s most prominent architectural structures, was built in response to citizens’ requests in the Iwami Region to build an art museum and theater facility. The museum was designed by Hiroshi Naito and is called Grand Toit from the French for Large Roof. From 16,456 entries submitted across the nation, ‘Grand Toit’, meaning ‘large roof’, was selected. In the centre, there are large roofs and walls covered with Sekishu tiles that reflect the local traditions and culture. It is certain that these tiles symbolize the development of this area with their characteristic red hue that adorns the storefronts and houses lining the street. There are the same ceramic tiles throughout the building, but the changing light causes the tiles to change colour and texture, turning orange to green and gold at times. It is a shrine that serves as a place to create new culture while respecting the region’s cultural heritage and natural spirit. As well as offering exceptional art and culture from Japan and around the world, this center is a great place to learn about Japanese culture and art. In addition to the large hall, there is a small hall and an art museum surrounding the courtyard. Shimane Arts Center uses tiles from the local tile industry produced specifically for it (Sekishu-gawara) for its roof and outside walls.

Gymnasium in Shizuoka

Technical Information

  • Architects: Naito Architect & Associates
  • Location: Shizuoka Prefecture Kusanagi, Japan
  • Full Project Name: The Gymnasium in Shizuoka Prefecture Kusanagi Sports Complex
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Total floor area: 13,509
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Gymnasium in Shizuoka_©
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Model of Gymnasium in Shizuoka_©

As part of Japan’s earthquake-proof design, durability and safety are of utmost importance. In order to support the large roof weighing 2,350 tons, 256 cedar bonded blocks are arranged elliptically while changing angles from 45 to 70 degrees. Short-term loads are supported by steel braces attached to the back of bonded wood. By installing RD horizontal rings, post-tension is applied to the lower part of bonded wood to block the thrust force at the pedestal, which tends to stretch outward.

The mastermind Hiroshi Naito has entered multitudinous awards for his work. In addition to the Sea- Folk Museum of Mie( 1992), both the Chihiro Art Museum Azumino in Nagano, and the Makino Museum of shops and People in Kochi, 1999, he erected Fuji RINRI Seminar House in Shizuoka( 2001), River Retreat Garaku Annex in Toyama( 2002), Shimane trades Center in Shimane( 2005), Hyugashi Station in Miyazaki( 2008), Kochi Station in Kochi( 2009), TORA


  1. 2022. article3. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
  2. ROPPONGI MIRAI KAIGI -In the city that connects the people and the Art Design-. 2022. Hiroshi Naito|ROPPONGI MIRAI KAIGI -In the city that connects the people and the Art Design-. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
  3. Team, A., 2022. Gymnasium in Shizuoka / Hiroshi Naito. [online] ArchEyes. Available at: <> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
  4. Team, A., 2022. Sea Folk Museum / Hiroshi Naito. [online] ArchEyes. Available at: <> [Accessed 10 July 2022].
  5. Team, A., 2022. Shimane Arts Center – Grand Toit / Hiroshi Naito. [online] ArchEyes. Available at: <> [Accessed 10 July 2022].

An observant Architect and wandering soul who captures the tales of poetic experiences through writing. She is a traveler by heart who explores the essence through understanding the relationship between people and places with sensitivity, as she believes “Architecture is an extension of one’s life “