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Image: Designboom.com

A Japanese studio known as Hiroshi Nakamura/NAP architects recently revealed some images of the Sayama Forest Chapel. This chapel shares space with the Sayama lakeside cemetery complex, which can be found in the Saitama prefecture. This small timber-based structure is located at the threshold of a very dense forest, which eventually reveals a clearing. The nearby road is such that pedestrian traffic is impossible.

The complex compelled NAP architects to work to create a structure that would function as an architecturally secular location to accommodate those in mourning. This Gassho-style creation features two opposing walls that lean against one another, which was used to meet a variety of conceptual and structural demands. The final form is evocative of hands in the prayer position. The angled walls mirror the form of a body in the act of prayer.

The structure brilliantly avoids branches from the forest canopy, while also preserving the trees that are currently in the area. The curves and height of the area are optimized by a variety of design measures. The secular, minimalist design has a purpose of making visitors and worshippers alike feel welcome and serene. Those who have been to the space can attest that the hand-crafted aluminum tiles are just the beginning when it comes to the impressive elements of the space. The structure is being called a triumph on every possible level.

With so many features enhancing and accentuating the design of this structure, it can be difficult to appreciate just how complex this seemingly simple structure really is. It will be fascinating to see additional examples of architecture that are optimized for not only the people, but for all of the surroundings that exist in the vicinity of the structure.