david chipperfield’s inagawa cemetery is sited on a steep slope in japan’s hokusetsu mountain range, nearly 25 miles north of osaka. the cemetery, laid across terraced land, is divided by a monumental stair leading up to a shrine at the highest point – an axis that orients the project. the visitor center and chapel are designed as a marked threshold between the outside world and the space within, dedicated to quiet contemplation. these visitor and chapel spaces are gathered round a courtyard aligned with the central stair, serving as a counterpoint to the shrine.

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image by keiko sasaoka

 

 

the program of the david chipperfield-designed project is organized under a single, sloping roof plane which follows the line of site from the entrance up to the shrine. the visitor center opens to the courtyard garden while the secluded chapel can only be reached by a discrete corridor. a simple and quiet room with minimal heating and artificial lighting offers a non-denominational contemplative space, pure in form and relying on ambient sunlight from the gardens on either side. the visitor finds seclusion in this space filled with soft, passing daylight and foliage influenced by japanese meadows and woodlands.

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image by keiko sasaoka

 

 

diagonally opposite to the courtyard is the visitor center. two large rooms dedicate space for family gatherings and ceremonies. a visitors lounge offers an informal area for resting and eating. a memorial room, which can be separated into three smaller rooms by pleated curtains made with washi paper on fabric, offers space for formal meals after rituals. the floors, walls, and roof are poured from the same red earth-toned concrete, giving the overall structure a monolithic appearance.

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image by keiko sasaoka

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image by keiko sasaoka

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

chipperfield inagawa cemetery
image © edmund sumner

 

 

project info:

 

client: boenfukyukai foundation
architect: david chipperfield architects london
director in charge: david chipperfield
project architect: matt ball (design lead), tom herre (detail design, construction)
lighting: viabizzuno srl
landscape architect: marcia iwatate + kamimura landscape architects
signage: hayashi takuma design office
furniture: cassina IXC ltd.
textile: NUNO corporation
structural consultant: jun sato structural engineering
MEP consultant: ES associates
contractor and contact architect: obayashi corporation
associate architect: key operation inc. / architects naoko kawamura
project manager: naoko kawamura

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news