Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

 

Our love for religious architecture is well documented, and we couldn’t resist sharing this beautiful little chapel, situated in a forrest adjacent to the multi-religion cemetery in Japan. Designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, Sayama Forest Chapel’s building form resembles two hands clasped in prayer. “As people pray, so does the architecture,” explains Nakamura.

The chapel is designed to facilitate spiritual reflection by focusing on the vertical. By tilting the walls inward, the building leaves plenty of room for adjacent trees to grow freely. The steep angular roof is clad in thousands of cast-aluminium shingles with each one made by hands of local craftsmen. The ripple-like roof texture emerges from the ground as an extension of the forest, and grows out of seven bays located around the perimeter.

“I envisioned an architecture that reflects on the way of life as it lives by the water conserved by the forest, and eventually returns to this place after death. I found the forest to be the subject of prayer that is mutual to various religions, and conceptualised an architecture that prays to the forest while surrounded by trees,” explains Hiroshi Nakamura.

 

Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

Sayama Forest Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP | Yellowtrace

 

The floor in the chapel is gently inclined towards the forest, guiding the people towards the departed and into a forward bending posture for praying. The patterns and seams of the slate extend towards the vanishing point deep into the forest, helping one concentrate their mind on the forest. When one prays, a small warm space is created within the hands as the fingers gently join. It seems as if that small space of prayer was taken out to form the architecture.

“For those who are in deep grief and inconsolable, how can architecture nurture them? With this in mind, I designed buildings that gently surround them and support their intentions.”

 

Related Post: Stories On Design // Take Me To Church.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. Photography by Koji Fujii / Nacasa&Partners.]

 

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