Tunnel Of Light

MAD Architects


The ‘Tunnel of Light’ by MAD Architects, led by Ma Yansong, is the restoration of the 750-meter-long Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel in Japan’s Niigata Prefecture. The revitalization project sees the installation of several artistic spaces along the historic lookout tunnel, with the intention of bringing back the cultural energy that once empowered the region. The ‘Tunnel of Light’ opened on the occasion of the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale. Each installation draws on one of the five elements of nature – ‘Periscope’ (wood), ‘Expression of Color’ (earth), ‘Invisible Bubble’ (metal), ‘The Drop’ (fire), and ‘Light Cave’ (water) – transforming points along the tunnel with architectural and artistic atmospheres. Using local and humble materials, each work rethinks the relationship between humans and nature, re-connecting visitors with the majestic beauty of the land. Cultivating the land with art as a process of urban reactivation, the installations form poetic spaces where visitors transcend the role of observers, actively participating in the art, while placing them in nature in unexpected ways. Since its completion, ‘Tunnel of Light’ has attracted triple the number of visitors from 60,000 in 2017 to 180,000+ in 2018, demonstrating how art and nature can come together to reinvigorate a community.

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