Located in the garden of Bella Vista Sakaigahama resort hotel near Hiroshima, Ribbon Chapel is situated on a hillside, enjoying a panoramic view of the inland sea of Japan.
By entwining two spiral stairways, Hiroshi Nakamura designed a free-standing building of unprecedent composition, architecturally embodying the act of marriage in a pure form. A single spiral stairway would be unstable in the horizontal plane and prone to vibration on the vertical axis, but by joining two spiral stairways so that one supports the other, a free-standing structure has been created.
Just as two lives go through twists and turns before uniting as one, the two spirals seamlessly connect at their 15.4m to summit to form a single ribbon.
Centered at the core of the structure is the light-filled chapel that’s hugged tightly by the smooth spirals on the exterior.
The chapel aisle looks toward an existing symbol tree: the altar stands before the tree, and 80 seats are positioned for views to the ocean through the trees.
The stairways widen in response to their location and function, such as the summit where the couple meets and in places where the eaves must be deep to shield the interior from the sun.
The building’s exterior is clad in upright wood panels, painted white so as to deepen in beauty as time passes, and titanium zinc alloy, a material resistant to damage from the sea breeze and pliable enough to be applied to curve surfaces.
Employing the zinc alloy on the coping, walls, ceiling and window sashes enabled a simple design unified by means of a single material.