fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SEKKEI's chapel in japan

fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SEKKEI's chapel in japan


contemporary chapel blurs the boundaries of inside and outside


japanese studio NIKKEN SEKKEI has completed its new chapel, immersing it in the rich nature of hokkaido, japan. the structure employs contemporary japanese aesthetics yet preserves the charm of traditional architecture. the final composition is topped by a fragmented floating roof, prioritizing openness and natural light. with this gesture, the design team sought to fade away the barrier between inside and outside, bringing visitors closer to nature. 


the project is located within park hyatt niseko hanazono, a year-round mountain resort in the pristine heart of niseko’s hanazono area that opened in january 2020. niseko is renowned as an international winter ski resort, and also offers seasonal outdoor activities (hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting) in the remainder of the year. therefore, the facility’s contemporary chapel echoes japanese characteristics, in harmony with the four seasons.fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SIKKEI's chapel in japan
all images by koji horiuchi/shin syashin koubou



paying homage to traditional architecture


the chapel by NIKKEN SEKKEI (see more here) reflects the warm, sleek, and muted nuances of contemporary japanese aesthetics, while its floating roof pays homage to japanese traditional architecture. as in traditional japanese noh theater, the chapel façade faces the front garden pond, with the reflected image, enhancing its ‘floating grand roof’ effect. the pond itself features two different areas of depth. the water level can be modified, generating an outdoor seating area suitable for a concert or other outdoor events. 


spanning 20 meters in length, the roof effectively blurs the boundary between indoor and outdoor areas. with a pristine birch forest in the background and ample space between the front garden pond and the backyard, guests can enjoy a quasi-outdoor resort wedding experience along with the seasonal shift in scenery.fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SIKKEI's chapel in japan



adapting to the different seasons, and requirements of each event


the chapel serves as a multi-purpose facility that can host private dining, buffets, seminars, conferences, and concert events. the architects placed sliding doors native to traditional japanese architecture to optimize customizability. when needed, the 10m-long triple sliding doors can open, extending the nave to the outdoor stage area. meanwhile, opening the entrance hall’s 4m-wide double sliding doors adds additional functionality, serving for example as a foyer.


along with the spatial flexibility, the design team shifted their attention to the lighting effect. high side lighting between the two pitched roofs, along with stained glass positioned above the gable wall, allow different expressions of light to enter, according to the prevailing climate, season, and time of day. thick steel rods connect the roofs, which are supported by reinforced concrete walls on both ends, leaving a 20m-long unobstructed space underneath.fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SIKKEI's chapel in japan


mechanical and electronic equipment have been kept out of sight in order to enhance the guest experience: linear lighting fixtures have been embedded in the roof connecting rods; ceiling illumination lights, automated spotlights for the wedding aisle, and tall altar-side speakers are camouflaged in identical wall tile color fabric; the air-conditioning system maintains the spatial aesthetic and features an under-floor chamber suited for cold weather needs. it employs understated window-side air outlet grilles and concealed air-return inlets in the roller blind headbox.

fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SEKKEI's chapel in japan

fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SEKKEI's chapel in japan

fragmented floating roof tops NIKKEN SEKKEI's chapel in japan


site plan
site plan
water feature
water feature
structure diagram
structure diagram
lighting diagram
lighting diagram

project info:


name: park hyatt niseko hanazono, chapel
designer: nikken sekkei ltd.
design and supervision: nikken sekkei, nikken space design

architect: fujita corporation registered frst-class architectural office

location: iwaobetsu, kutchan town, hokkaido,japan

client: harmony TMK

building area: 283 sqm

gross floor area: 226 sqm

maximum height: 8.8m

structure: steel, reinforced concrete

construction period: april 2017– november 2019

contractor: fujita corporation, hokkaido branc

photography: koji horiuchi/shin syashin koubou



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissionsfeature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: christina petridou | designboom


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