The architectural concept design of the Europe–Far East Gallery was created by Ingarden & Ewý, the practice whose architects had worked with Arata Isozaki on his original design of the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology back in 1994. In the architects’ vision, the existing building of the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology will remain the dominant component on site, both in formal and functional terms. The scale and the architectural composition of the new Gallery is subordinated to those of the Museum building. In the conceptual design, the architects moved the Gallery building away from the Museum on the side of the open area in front of it, to make it possible to open up the view of the Manggha Museum and augment the public space around it.
The designer’s idea was that the calm and simple form of the building should make no direct reference to the architectural tradition of any of the Far Eastern or European countries, as a way of underscoring the attitude of equality, openness to diversity and multiplicity of aesthetic and cultural models. Non-dominant and minimalistic, the form of the Gallery will make its interior a space favourable to the display of various examples of the old and modern art of the Far East without imposing any specific type of aesthetics on the viewer. The Gallery building will also form a foil for the Manggha Museum and enhance its architectural expression. At the same time, being a close neighbour to the Japanese Language School, built in 2004 by Andrzej Wajda’s and Krystyna Zachwatowicz’s Kyoto–Krakow Foundation, the Gallery building is an extension of its architecture.
The building comprises exhibition rooms, a small conference room for readings, presentations and lectures on Far Eastern topics, and also rooms for specialists and storage spaces for the growing Far East collection. The exhibition rooms on the first and second floors are of similar size – over 260 square metres each; they provide opportunities for the flexible display of diverse forms of art, both traditional and modern. The designers have also made it possible to use the lobby for exhibition purposes. The facility has been designed to be fully accessible to the disabled.