Myoken-San Worship Hall by Shin Takamatsu Architects

Architecture & Interiors

Working with wood in architecture is as ancient as architecture is. With its infinite possibilities, availability and properties, wood makes for interesting applications, either in interiors or exteriors, or even, in whole constructions.
The Myoken-San Worship Hall in Kawanishi, Japan, designed by Shin Takamatsu, is one such example.


Located on the mountain of Seirei, in the prefecture of Hyogo, it is named after the Buddhist saint Myoken Bosatsu, who used to come here and pray. The wood surrounding the temple is of cedar trees. How natural then, to use that very wood for the temple structure.


The building covers and area of 900 square meters, developing on two levels. The structure is made of steel, cedar wood, glass and concrete. It projects great tension vertically, made stronger outside by the huge planes making up its volume. Luckily Buddhism does not require a specific design for its temples, giving the architect quite a big freedom to his work.


The design is very geometrical, with strong triangular shapes forming the main body of the building. It is based on a circular form inserted in an orthogonal scheme, with a star shaped configuration at the top.


The wooden elements used in its construction, despite the obviously man-made shapes they are used in, link imminently the building to its surroundings. They remind the visitor of the wood all around, its trunks and branches, giving a sense of serenity and calmness.


The use of glass to cover large floor areas makes the whole structure seemingly floating inside the wooden frame. A unique building in an ideal setting.


All photos except the first and last one, by Toshiyuki Kobayashi.

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  1. Rachel Mallon

    Nov 16, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    I have never seen anything like this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. ruggz

    Nov 18, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Wow..this is truly an amazing design! I still can’t get over the incredible use of glass and wood. I would love to see this in person. By the way it may be of interest to other readers to check out the Singapore Design Festival 07 as there is a wealth of information and events regarding architecture going on. So check out some other amazing architectural designs and let us know what you think. http://www.SingaporeDesignFestival.com

  3. isti

    Nov 26, 2008 at 4:43 am

    it’s great, really! I’ve never found this one before.two thumbs up!!!

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