Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR

Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Exterior Photography, WindowsPrabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Interior Photography, TablePrabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Interior PhotographyPrabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Image 5 of 23Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - More Images+ 18

  • Director Architect: Eitaro Satake / STAR
  • Senior Architect: Shinichiro Yamada / Yamada Studio
  • Main Architect: Kuniyuki Tanaka / moires
  • Assistant Architect: Jundong Fan / STAR
  • Structural Engineer: Kenchiku Shokudo
  • Sign Designer: Clip
  • City: Oita
  • Country: Japan
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Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Exterior Photography, Windows
© Tetsuya Ito

Text description provided by the architects. This project was the design of a nokotsudo, or ossuary hall, located on the grounds of Myorenji Temple in the city of Oita, Oita Prefecture. Such buildings offer an alternative to cemeteries and house small spaces—often locker-style spaces with small altars—that serve as repositories for cinerary urns. In recent years, the demand for ossuaries in Japan has been surging as factors such as a shrinking population, rural-to-urban migration, and the decline of extended families make it increasingly difficult for people to care for and maintain traditional graves at cemeteries on the grounds of local temples. The design of a memorial space that accounts for immediate needs and long-term considerations in Japanese society offers a practical solution to this problem.

Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade
© Tetsuya Ito
Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Image 18 of 23
Plan - 1st Floor
Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Interior Photography, Table
© Tetsuya Ito

Engaging in dialogues with our client, the temple’s head priest, we set out to design a space that would comfort bereaved family members—a far cry from the dark, warehouse-like spaces characteristic of typical ossuaries. We settled upon a design that would embody the concept of “guest rooms for the departed”—a bright, welcoming space more evocative of a hotel or luxury inn. Our chosen name for the facility, Prabha, is taken from ancient Indian scripture, where it signifies “light.”

Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Interior Photography
© Tetsuya Ito
Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Image 19 of 23
Plan - 2nd Floor
Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Interior Photography, Dining room, Chair, Beam
© Tetsuya Ito

A distinguishing feature of the design is the “Garden of Silence,” a dry landscape garden with a pine tree and rocks arranged in an exquisitely balanced composition. The rocks come from within the temple grounds, deepening the garden’s connection to the site’s heritage, while the carefully selected Japanese white pine perfectly complements the location. Visitors are invited to relax on comfortable lounge chairs in a semi-open space that looks out onto the garden, enveloped in the serene atmosphere while cherishing memories of their departed loved ones. White plaster walls and extensive use of wood feature prominently in the interior design, and the Buddhist altar was made crimson rather than the standard black, evoking the light of the Western Pure Land and the hue of the setting sun.

Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Image 8 of 23
© Tetsuya Ito
Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Image 23 of 23
Section B
Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Image 5 of 23
© Tetsuya Ito

Our work on the project included making a number of improvements to the temple grounds. We verified that the main hall (built around 1750), main gate, bell tower, and priests’ quarters all meet the requirements of the current building code. Additionally, we relocated a stone monument. The new ossuary seamlessly integrates with such traditional structures on the temple grounds. The building is both aesthetically pleasing and barrier-free, with functional elements including automatic doors, an air-conditioning system, and an elevator. The Prabha design both showcases and enhances a traditional architectural style, and the completed project embodies the concept of "old meets new" at the core of our company’s ideology.

Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR - Image 12 of 23
© Tetsuya Ito

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Project location

Address:Oita, Japan

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
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Cite: "Prabha Ossuary Hall / teamSTAR" 12 May 2024. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Tetsuya Ito

Prabha 骨灰堂 / teamSTAR

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