About Tokyo Tech

Museum and Centennial Hall building

In 1987 when construction of Centennial Hall was completed, neighborhood residents were amazed at the distinct final form that emerged from behind the wooden house of Ookayama Station. Children called it Gundam, the name of a humanoid weapon from a famous televised anime series. Years have passed since the unveiling of Centennial Hall. Ookayama Station is now underground and another new building, the Tokyo Tech Front, stands across the street from both. Entering campus through the Main Gate, visitors are now greeted by another new and visually striking building. The triangular, glass-paned library building is affectionately known as the "cheesecake." The landscapes of both Ookayama and Tokyo Tech's Ookayama Campus have experienced radical change over time and yet the two have become comfortably intertwined. Today, Centennial Hall is not only a symbol of Tokyo Tech, but also of Ookayama.

Tokyo Tech's Museum and Archives is housed in the Centennial Hall building

Tokyo Tech's Museum and Archives is housed in the Centennial Hall building

1st floor T-POT and B1 Special Exhibition Rooms

T-POT, 1st floorT-POT, 1st floor

At first glance, Centennial Hall might look cold. However, a closer look reveals an organic exterior with movement in various directions: a curved half cylinder passes through the building on the upper floors, asymmetrical eaves frame the east and west entrances, and a black tube, which doubles as a dumbwaiter, rises a discreet distance away from the building.

The visitor to Centennial Hall crosses the threshold into a bright and spacious Information & Learning Commons, also known as T-POT, which doubles as an event venue and a place to study or relax. A hologram created by a Tokyo Tech graduate can be seen against a back wall. An intricate plaster model of the Main Building on campus is displayed next to racks of informational pamphlets. The open ceiling exposes a grid of silver air-conditioning ducts, catwalks, and a special crane for installing exhibits. Centennial Hall's open 1st floor is an inviting space for both the Tokyo Tech and local communities.

Glass-paneled Special Exhibition Room A, B1 floorGlass-paneled Special Exhibition Room A, B1 floor

Six rooms on the B1 and 2nd floors of Centennial Hall have been allocated to the Museum and Archives for permanent exhibitions, where highlights of Tokyo Tech's education and research are displayed. There are many works of art on the B1 floor, including ceramics and glassware. Some visitors are surprised to encounter ceramics in a renowned science and engineering university museum. However, upon seeing and reading about Gottfried Wagener featured in the exhibit, the visitor quickly comes to appreciate the long history of the Institute, which promoted the advancement of technology and the training of technical leaders, the roots of which lie in ceramic engineering and textile-dyeing. Both of these industries require scientific knowledge, technical ingenuity, and innovation. The works of art of three living national treasures and Tokyo Tech graduates, Shoji Hamada, Keisuke Serizawa, and Tatsuzo Shimaoka, along with those of other renowned Japanese potters and Tokyo Tech graduates, such as Kanjiro Kawai, are on display.

The following works of art represent a selection of researchers, artists, and items on display in Special Exhibition Rooms A and B on the B1 floor:

Special Exhibition Room A

  • Ceramic research: Gottfried Wagener and Kosuke Hirano
  • Architecture: Yoshiro Taniguchi and Kiyoshi Seike
  • Chemistry and chemical engineering: Toshio Hoshino, Tetsuo Sato, Shu Kambara, and Hideki Shirakawa
  • Ferrite development: Yogoro Kato and Takeshi Takei
  • Tokyo Tech vanguards in art and industrial design:
  • Hazan Itaya, Kanjiro Kawai, Shoji Hamada, Keisuke Serizawa, Kozo Kagami, and Tatsuzo Shimaoka

Special Exhibition Room B

  • Textile machines used for training students
  • Gears: Takashi Nakada
  • Robotics: Masahiro Mori and Shigeo Hirose
  • Holographic technology and art: Jumpei Tsujiuchi and Setsuko Ishii
  • World Technical Heritage: Stirling engine and Parsons turbine

Four Exhibition Rooms on the 2nd floor

Exhibition Rooms fronting open ceiling, 2nd floor Photo by Hiroshi UedaExhibition Rooms fronting open ceiling,
2nd floor
Photo by Hiroshi Ueda

There are four exhibition rooms on the 2nd floor fronting the open ceiling. These rooms were transformed from meeting rooms into exhibition spaces in 2010 and won the Good Design Award in the same year. Each room is named for its exhibits.

  • Centennial Hall and Kazuo Shinohara
    Centennial Hall, designed by Kazuo Shinohara, was built as part of Tokyo Tech's 100th anniversary celebrations. Historical materials regarding the construction of the building are on exhibit. Other objects designed by Shinohara, including some of his drawings, models of both Centennial Hall and private homes, and furniture form part of the collection housed on the 2nd floor.
  • Evolving Earth
    This display consists of geological materials from the collections of Tokyo Tech's Museum of Evolving Earth. It features findings from research activities on the history of the Earth. Some of the world's oldest rocks, minerals, and fossils are on display.
  • Electrical – Optical Communication
    Since the late 1920s, Tokyo Tech has been the front runner in the evolution of electronics and the development of photonics. A display of various types of vacuum tubes occupies one wall in this exhibition room. The high–stability quartz oscillator invented by Issaku Koga (or Issac Koga) and the research findings of Yasuharu Suematsu and Kenichi Iga in optical communications are also exhibited.
  • Tokyo Vocational School – Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Tokyo Tech was founded in 1881 as the Tokyo Vocational School. More than 130 years of the Institute's history are on display in this exhibition room.

3rd floor Ferrite Memorial Hall and 4th floor Lounge

Lounge, 4th floorLounge, 4th floor

The bottom of the hallmark half cylinder passes through the building forming the ceiling of the 3rd floor, which is comprised of meeting rooms and a lobby. The Lounge can be found inside the half cylinder on the 4th floor, which gently curves from east to west. Out the eastern window there is a breathtaking view of Tokyo, the Ookayama Station commercial district, and the gardens of Senzoku Pond. The expanse of Ookayama Campus as well as a stunning view of Mt. Fuji on clear days can be seen from the west window.

Centennial Hall

Centennial Hall (center of the picture), aerial view, 1987Centennial Hall (center of the picture), aerial view, 1987

The construction of Centennial Hall was planned in 1981 as part of a series of projects to celebrate Tokyo Tech's 100th anniversary. The building opened on November 1, 1987. The original planning for the 100th anniversary celebration started 13 years earlier in 1974. Once the location and designer of the building, then-professor Kazuo Shinohara, were decided, a fundraising committee led by Mr. Toshio Doko, the then-president of the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association, was established to collect donations from graduates and the corporate community.

The prospectus for fundraising at that time stated that the objective of Centennial Hall was to become "a monument to Tokyo Tech's future development by preserving and showcasing scientific and technological achievements made at the Institute throughout its history." In accordance with this objective, the Centennial Hall project committee developed two concepts, human heritage and material heritage, which were to permeate Centennial Hall's activities. Today, Tokyo Tech's heritage can be witnessed in both the structure itself and in its engagement with the community.

Museum and Archives

Since its creation, Centennial Hall has been actively expanding its functions and activities. In addition to the permanent exhibitions in the basement and 2nd floor, special exhibitions with topical themes are held several times a year in the Information & Learning Commons on the 1st floor. The Museum and Archives promotes exhibits, lectures, and various events, all revolving around Tokyo Tech's technical innovation.

In 2011, Centennial Hall was designated as a university museum in accordance with the provisions of the Museum Act. That same year it was incorporated into the Museum, along with the Suzukakedai Exhibition Space located in the S1 Building on the Suzukakedai Campus, and reopened as the Museum and Centennial Hall.

Museum and Archives

Together with the Museum and Archives, the building functions as a cultural and information hub open to the community. In addition to hosting conferences, seminars, and symposia, it provides space for academic exchange between students, faculty, staff, researchers, and the public.