in a cemetery near sapporo, japan, tadao ando has surrounded a giant statue of buddha with a landscaped hill designed to draw attention to the 13.5 meter-tall sculpture. ando’s brief was to highlight the scale of the figure, which was constructed 15 years ago. the new intervention encircles the sculpture, leaving only the top of its head visible from outside the hill. in order to see the rest of the buddha, visitors must navigate a 40 meter-long tunnel that leads to a rotunda that surrounds the statue.

 

 

the cemetery is located on the northern japanese island of hokkaido
video courtesy of hokkaido fan magazine(main image by shigeo ogawa, via vitra)

 

 

‘the design intention was to create a vivid spatial sequence, beginning with the long approach through the tunnel in order to heighten anticipation of the statue, which is invisible from the outside,’ tadao ando explains in an essay for domus magazine. ‘when the hall is reached, visitors look up at the buddha, whose head is encircled by a halo of sky at the end of the tunnel.’

tadao ando hill buddha
a large man-made hill surrounds the 13.5 meter-tall statue
image courtesy of hokkaido fan magazine

 

 

ando categorizes the work as a piece of landscape architecture, with its appearance changing depending on the time of year. in spring and summer the site is filled with verdant greenery and vibrant lavender, while in winter months, the cemetery is draped in a blanket of snow. learn more about the project here, and visit the cemetery’s website for more details.

tadao ando hill buddha
a 40 meter-long tunnel leads to a light-filled rotunda
image by hiroo namiki, via takino reien

tadao ando hill buddha
‘visitors look up at the buddha, whose head is encircled by a halo of sky’ — ando
image by shigeo ogawa, via vitra

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  • Great temple complex, but monoculture-“green”

    Cristina says:

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