kengo kuma combines tree trunks and glass for the birch moss chapel in japan

kengo kuma combines tree trunks and glass for the birch moss chapel in japan

the birch moss chapel by kengo kuma and associates is built to disappear within the surrounding nature through a series of thin tree trunks used to support its roof. located in the mountain town of  karuizawa, in japan’s nagano prefecture, the chapel combines steel and glass for the roof structure, as well as acrylic for the almost invisible benches lined between the birch trunks.

 kengo kuma combines tree trunks and glass for the birch moss chapel in japanall images courtesy of kengo kuma and associates



the unimposing structure dissolves the border between itself and the forest, as well as enhances its presence, through the randomly placed birch branches used to put it together. to blend the chapel into the surrounding nature even further, kengo kuma has spread moss on the floors both within and outside of its perimeter. before reaching the birch moss chapel through a stone-paved pathway, visitors are greeted by french contemporary artist jean-michel othoniel’s artwork, modeled after the shape of a heart.

 kengo kuma combines tree trunks and glass for the birch moss chapel in japan

 kengo kuma combines tree trunks and glass for the birch moss chapel in japan



project info:



name: birch moss chapel

architect: kengo kuma and associates

size: 66m²

location: karuizawa, nagano, japan

project team: masafumi yukimoto, ayumu shimotsukasa* (*former staff)

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    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.


    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

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    489,420 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample