慶應義塾大学アート・センター Keio University Art Center

Noguchi Room resources

The Common Room, often referred to as the “Noguchi Room,” was designed as a collaborative effort between architect Yoshio Taniguchi (1904-1979) and American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), following the completion in 1951 of Taniguchi’s Second Faculty Building at Keio’s Mita Campus. 

The Common Room had been initially conceived of in the early Meiji Period, when Fukuzawa Yukichi had hoped to establish a “Banraisha” or “Shin Banraisha,” as a space for interchange between Professors and their students. The Taniguchi building in which it came to be rebuilt, was pulled down in 2003 to make space for the New School Building. As a result, the “Noguchi Room” was moved to the roof terrace of the New School Building (South Building), in a transfer that took until March, 2005, to be completed. 

The “Noguchi Room Archive” project was launched by the Art Center in 1998, and aims to build a comprehensive collection of articles relating to the cultural heritage of the university. We commissioned over 60 photographic prints from architectural experts to document the interior and exterior condition of the building, which have now been digitalized. A number of these photographs are taken from fixed angles to give a comparable viewpoint of the room’s condition before and after it was moved into the New School Building. In addition to photographs, we have digitalized a number of the architectural plans that had been kept by the university, which involved careful verification and ordering. The archive generally concerns itself with the maintenance of these architectural documents. It also generates its own documents, such as a 360-degree digital reproduction of the room to experience as a “virtual space.”

The archive is also in the process of constructing a bibliographic database aimed at researchers, which collects together books, newspapers, and articles relating to the Noguchi Room, Yoshio Taniguchi, and Isamu Noguchi. An important part of our current work is the gradual collection of interviews and testimonies relating to the Noguchi Room construction. Through the collection and maintenance of documents, the “Noguchi Room Archive” hopes to preserve the life of cultural histories as they continue to change and disappear.