Kionji is a Zen temple located in Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan. At a glance, it appears to be one of the typical traditional temples, but there is a modern innovative twist in order for one structure to contain all the functions: Main hall, reception hall, and the monk’s residence. Photo: Shigeo Ogata via http://k-associates.com
A press release from WARO KISHI + K.ASSOCIATES/Architects
This is a proposal for a Zen temple located in an old residential area in the suburb of Takarazuka city, near Osaka. All the primary functions of the institute: main hall, reception hall and the monksf residence are all to be renovated. However, the site is not large enough to build each function individually. The project is required to situate the main features within one structure and yet create atmospheres appropriate for each space at the same time. In addition, the flow from the new building to the existing graveyard needs to be considered as well. Placing the one-story main hall in the back of the west side of the property which faces the graveyard, the reception hall in the east, across the courtyard, and the two-story dwelling on top as the second and third floors, the idea becomes to create a kind of temple complex.
The design seeks to be contemporary and not a copy of a traditional architecture, yet, maintain the atmosphere of a traditional Japanese temple building.
In my understanding, the most important element for a temple is onefs encounter with the Buddha. The long eaves around the main hall surrounded by a water garden create a dark ceiling surface. In the center lays a wooden-shell structured large roof that has an opening facing the north side. The opening lets light shine in, through thinly sliced stone, from behind the Buddha statue. It is a way to embody the idea of encountering the Buddha profiled by the softly diffuse backlight.
The dwelling for the monks sits above the reception hall in two stories. In order to meet the contradictory functions: being open to the neighboring environment and ensuring privacy as a private house in a dense residential area, I developed a new movable glass-wood-hybrid louver for the armoring.