The Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum is housed in a building that was constructed in 1933 as the residence for the Prince Asaka Family. During the postwar years, the building was put to various temporary uses, serving at times as the official residence of the foreign minister and the prime minister, and at another time as the state guesthouse. It was given new life as a museum half a century after its construction, on October 1st, 1983.
The building is reflective of the Art Deco style that had swept over the world of European decorative art in the 1920s and 30s. French artists designed the major parts of the building, and its interior was decorated using materials that were largely imported from France and other foreign countries. The basic plan and part of the interior design were undertaken by architects of the Imperial Household Ministry's Construction Bureau, hence adding a uniquely Japanese flavor to the Art Deco style.
The building of this museum is itself an artwork, making it distinct from conventional museums. We propose a new style of art appreciation, where art and space in which the art is displayed can complement each other. The museum is surrounded by a spacious green garden and is situated in an environment where one could simultaneously enjoy nature, architecture, and the works of art. It is for this very reason that the museum got its name, the Teien (Garden) Museum.