Kuhon-ji Buddhist Temple / Furuichi and Associates

Kuhon-ji Buddhist Temple / Furuichi and Associates

© Hiroshi Ito © Hiroshi Ito © Hiroshi Ito © Hiroshi Ito + 9

Temple  · 
Sasebo, Japan
  • Architects Authors of this architecture project Furuichi and Associates
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project
  • Photographer Created with Sketch.
  • Construction

    Tomita Mente
  • Structure

    Umezawa Structural Engineers lab.
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© Hiroshi Ito
© Hiroshi Ito

Text description provided by the architects. This project is a Buddhist temple and ossuary for the “Jodo-shu”, a Buddhist sect. The site is located on a slopein Sasebo, Nagasaki, surrounded by a dense residential area. In addition, the ossuary, the temple premises and the residences are separated by ponds, and the reflection of the sunlight is thrown on the floor of the ossuary through the glass windows. Generally, temples of the “Jodo-shu” are planned to face east so that when praying at the main hall, the prayers would naturally face the Western Paradise (a paradise in the Jodo sect which is supposed to be located in the far west of our world). In contrast, due to the direction of the slope, this temple faces west. However, by adding a cinnabar-coloured finish to the inner part of the grid inset in the temple gate, and with the help of the light of the setting sun through the stairway and the temple premises, the stairway space, the temple premises and the main hall are all lit up in cinnabar.

© Hiroshi Ito
© Hiroshi Ito

Holy Buddha Land

The whole design of the ossuary and the prayer hall is directed by Buddist beliefs, applying a contemporary vocabulary. Architecture here follows a narrative that gives sense to every axis, orientation, space, material and volume of the buildings. According to Buddist beliefs, the facade of the ossuary has to face West, the holy land, this way the holly light warms and consoles the souls in houses. The use of light follows this condition and is nevertheless used as an opportunity to provide a solemn atmosphere inside, a restful space for the ossuary.


Building on the Slope

The existing graveyard was on a man-made terrace that was dangerously deteriorated. However, the temple was lacking funds. A reinforced concrete structure was proposed as a gate and an ossuary with 450 crypt spaces. 120 spaces re-accommodated the existing graveyard, and the rest were sold to fund the new main hall. In contrast to the concrete ossuary, the main hall is a light steel structure. In summer, doors of the hall function to completely open the space to cooling breezes.

© Hiroshi Ito
© Hiroshi Ito

At the bottom of the site, a temple gate attached to a charnel house is arranged, and through this gate, a stairway would lead us up to the temple premises. The main hall of the temple is planned at the front of the premises, and on both sides of the premises, the residences for the chief abbot and vice-chief abbot are arranged. However, as these residences are hidden by wall partitions, no one could notice the dwellings from the temple premises.

© Hiroshi Ito
© Hiroshi Ito

Holy Water

The pond is a spiritual element. It is a symbolic separation between this world and the next. The ossuary, the temple premises and the residences are separated by ponds. The reflection of the sunlight is thrown the floor of the ossuary through the glass windows.

© Hiroshi Ito
© Hiroshi Ito

Openable Verandah

The location of the temple was carefully studied to take advantage of its high position on the hill and make use of natural ventilation for cooling the space during summer time. The space was designed adopting an idea from traditional Japanese houses: the engawa, a veranda with shoji screens (sliding doors made of paper) behind.

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Project location

Address: Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Kuhon-ji Buddhist Temple / Furuichi and Associates" 24 May 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
© Hiroshi Ito

日本净土宗九品寺 / 古市徹雄都市建筑研究所(Furuichi and Associates)

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