The overall winner of this year’s Leaf Awards is Hiroshi Nakamura of NAP Architects for its Ribbon Chapel project.

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.

Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc
Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc

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.

Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc
Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc

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.

 

Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc
Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc

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.

Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc
Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc

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.

Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc
Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc

 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.

Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc
Photo: © Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc
Archijuice Staff

Archijuice Staff

Commercial & Business Interiors. Our mission is simple: offering you a carefully edited selection of the best Hospitality, Office and Retail design and interiors projects from around the world: this was the idea that led to the creation of the ArchiJuice web portal. We’re mainly interested in bar design, hotel design and restaurant design.