Architecture MondayApril 11, 2016
I like the concept behind this one. The Ribbon Chapel, located in Hiroshima, is really a single room with a single purpose – it’s a wedding chapel at a resort. The architects, Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects, chose two ideas as their spring point: intertwining and spiraling ribbons, and a sacred tree.
The ribbons developed into twin staircases that envelop and create a strikingly vertical space that culminates at an oculus. Using very thin mullions to support the wall glazing, the glass almost disappears and really lets the sculptural nature of the ribbons read strongly. It also allows the sacred tree grove to become part of the space.
The stairways is really one stairway, that folds back upon itself to create the “two” ribbons. Starting from either end where it touches the ground, two people can walk in the opposite paths to reach the top together. The symbolism is a might direct, but appropriate for this ornamental building.
While I’ve got some mixed feelings, overall I think it’s a well executed and fun little pavilion, taking a playful concept and following it to create a lofty and luminous space that suits its function well.