Sayama Forest Chapel
Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP.
Saitama Perfecture, Japan
A work of the Tokyo firm Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, this chapel is located within Sayama Lakeside Cemetery, at the threshold of a deep forest.

The Sayama Lakeside Cemetery’s being open to all religions and surrounded by a dense forest were the architects’ main sources of inspiration. Moreover, the small triangular plot of land where the building was to rise is surrounded by quiet streets and roads; an ideal environment for a place of worship.

“For those who are in deep grief and inconsolable, how can architecture nurture them?  With this in mind, I designed buildings that gently surround them and support their intentions.”
Beginning with this reflection, the architects made several decisions on the chapel’s design. One was the floor’s slight inclination towards the cemetery, inciting the visitor to bow in reverence and prayer. A Japanese Gassho-style structure with walls leaning inward was used, built with pairs of beams meeting at a point from all possible directions. The roof tiles of cast aluminum, with a rippled texture, were made by craftsmen. The patterns and textures are oriented towards the woods, guiding visitors’ minds in that direction to help them concentrate.

Sayama Forest Chapel  - 7 1 30
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 5 2 32
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 5 3 34
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 5 5.1 36
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 3 5.2 38
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 7 4 40
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 7 6 42
© Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 2 7.1 44
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 1 7.2 46
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
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© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 1 9.1 50
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 1 9.2 52
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 6 10 54
© Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 4 11 56
© Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP
Sayama Forest Chapel  - 9 99 58
© Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.

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