LocationEhime Prefecture, Japan
Architect in ChargeTakashi Okuno
Text description provided by the architects. It is located in northwest Shikoku, in the mountains of Tamagawa-chō, Imabari City.
This project in modernization involved building an ihaidō (hall for housing Buddhist memorial tablets) at a temple that boasts a 1316-year history.
The theme of this project, which is the first step in a series of steps to be taken in the re-planning of the temple, is to “create a temple for the future” using modern materials.
On a steel framework, around 800 cypress rafters are extended diagonally and left exposed, much like a hakama (traditional Japanese skirt-like garment), and 88 pieces of glass are fitted randomly. The number “88” is the same as the number of sacred spots visited on an ohenro pilgrimage made around Shikoku. The space created as a result becomes a corridor of light, a place for calming one’s spirit. The colors of the lights shift and change throughout the year, depending on the rich nature that surrounds the temple grounds. The structure architecturally expresses the spirit of shogyō mujō, a fundamental Buddhist doctrine which teaches that all things are impermanent.
In addition, the hakama portion also serves to protect the main body of the steel structure, as the grounds are at times exposed to powerful winds and rain. We chose widely distributed, readily available materials and used no technically specialized construction methods to ensure that local craftsmen would be able to carry out the necessary maintenance work for many years to come. To create a building that lasts for a long time, components and the hakama portion with replaceable roofing material are very important.
People think of their loved ones as they face the building and bring their hands together in prayer. It is our hope that the sprinkles of light climbing toward the heavens will serve as a source of comfort for people’s spirits.