Arquitectura Viva
Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, Sayama Forest Chapel in Saitama (Japan)

In the cemetery of Lake Sayama – which supplies water to Tokyo – stands this chapel amid the trees of a dense forest, echoing its context as much in its geometry as in its materials. Without subscribing to any particular denomination, trying instead to create an atmosphere that gives importance to things that are shared by all forms of human spirituality, the space within the building arises from the series of warped slopes that make up the roof, open to the exterior by means of seven large triangular and glazed openings. The resulting origami is built with 251 beams of laminated larchwood, coming in different sizes and prepared in the factory with the help of a numerically controlled cutter. Together the geometry and the construction system make the building perform excellently when there is an earthquake, and here the chapel continues the tradition of solutions used in traditional architecture, in particular the Gassho-style houses typical of the city of Shirakawa-go, and also the sophisticated knots of Japanese carpentry. Worked by local artisans, wood takes on all the protagonism in the warm tones and textures of the interior, but in the parts approaching the forest the building adopts a colder, more neutral tone, with a cladding of hand-made tiles of aluminum 4 millimeters thick and an elegantly subdued matte finish.
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