The site, Migishi Atelier, was designed by Iwao Yamawaki (1898~1987) who studied at the Bauhaus in Germany, as the residence and atelier of Kotaro Migishi (1903~34), a young and aspiring oil painter in pre-WWII Japan.
Dreaming about building an atelier in then the rural area of Nakano, Kotaro Migishi purchased land with a view of a nearby thatched house, and drew many sketches of the imagined atelier for his friend architect Yamawaki to design.
He, however,passed suddenly at the age of 31, three months before the construction was completed, and the building was completed in October 1934 by his wife, Setsuko Migishi, the pioneer of Japanese women’s western style of oil painting.
The site had been Setsuko’s atelier for over 30 years until her studio was moved to France in 1968.
Since then, the Atelier was long left mostly vacant and with support from the local community including Nakano Ward, the site started to be opened to the public in 2011 as a venue for various cultural purposes and a community salon.
In 2014, the structure was designated as a Nationally Registered Cultural Property as a that realized by a combination of the aesthetics of an oil painter, Kotaro Migishi, and architectural concepts of a Bauhaus-educated architect, Iwao Yamawaki.
It is significant as a rare work of modern architecture not only in the Tokyo metropolitan area but also in Japan where many pre-WWII modern buildings are rapidly diminishing, and it was listed on DOCOMOMO-Japan Selection in 2017.
The stakeholders include:
1. Family members who share ownership of the site including inheritance rights: At present, all are in concurrence for the site preservation.
2. Nakano Ward, local municipal government: current close and positive relationship for the preservation and area development of the site is required to be maintained and strengthened through its Education Board and other related sections.
3. Nakano Tatemono Oendan and Suginami Tatemono Oendan: voluntary non-profit organizations to preserve historic buildings in local communities, our partners for the maintenance including urgent repairs.
4. Migishi Kotaro Museum of Art, Hokkaido (Sapporo City) and Ichinomiya City Memorial Art Museum of Setsuko MIgishi (Aichi Pref.)