Public Spaces

Sayama Forest Chapel by architect Hiroshi Nakamura is part of the Sayama Lakeside Cemetery. Ultra-precision construction technology was used to create a frame that doubles as the building’s surface, and the altar was positioned so worshippers can face the forest where, during morning services, the sun lights up the surrounding trees. Pillars join at the top to form a “sasu” (truss-like) frame, and the roof was thatched with sand-cast aluminum tiles handcrafted by local artisans. “Creating a comfort zone or the feeling of comfort does not mean we have to exclude the harshness of nature,” explains Nakamura. “Of course we should protect ourselves from storms, cold winds, and hot summers, as long as we don’t forget to contemplate how they have always been part of our existence. Doing so provides the ultimate feeling of comfort.” Nakamura’s unique sense to wed his structures with nature is a concept that was also observed by Wallpaper magazine, whose editors honored the 42-year-old innovator with their prestigious Design Award in 2015. For Nakamura, the link to nature is wood. “When we touch it, we can feel its grooves and this reminds us of our own skin, the pattern of our fingerprints. Wood creates a constant feedback-loop between us and a natural environment that we run danger of cutting off completely from our city lives.” No wonder that Nakamura created the first 3D computer program that helps protect roots and branches when houses are built between trees. It can simulate and predict the growth of the plant, as well as the swaying of branches during typhoons, and also suggests how to best place foundations to protect roots.

Explore Related Listings

03

PLAYING IN THE MOUNTAINS

Moerenuma Park is a treat to visit all year round. Situated just outside Sapporo City, this public park infuses the surrounding...
10

THE BOOK COLOSSEUM

This magnificent university library designed by Mitsuru Senda is open to serve its students 24 hours a day, 365 days a year...
11

SHIGERU BAN IN TOHOKU

Onagawa Station on the JR Ishinomaki Line was one of the many train stations that lost its buildings and trains to the 2011...
17

EVERYBODY’S GLASS PALACE

This Toyo Ito-designed cultural institution with galleries, cinema, and a library is one of Japan’s modern architectural...
44

SPEED ARTING

The new Genbi Shikansen is the “fastest museum” yet conceived. Running close to 210 km/h down Japan Railway’s Joetsu...
59

ART YOU CAN WALK ON

Outdoor sculpture museums usually don’t allow walking and climbing on art works, but Site of Rever...
66

MODERNIST TEMPLE

To commemorate the 500th memorial of its priest Rennyo (1415–1499), the unifier of the Jodo Shinsh...
80

NOGUCHI’S BRIDGES

Isamu Noguchi visited war-ravaged Hiroshima in 1950 when Kenzo Tange invited him to design bridges...
89

EAST MEETS WEST

Completed in 1958, the East building was formerly the main hall of the Kagawa Prefectural Governme...
91

FEATS OF THE FATHER OF JAPANESE BOTANY

First opened in 1958 to honor the achievements of Tomitaro...