Japan’s Shinkoji Temple exemplifies the juxtaposition of tradition and modernity

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Located in Minami-ku, in the Japanese city of Nagoya, the Shinkoji Temple is emblematic of the subtle, yet beguiling, juxtaposition of the old and the new; of tradition and modernity. Constructed by Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio, the temple upholds the intricacies of Buddhist architecture, while at the same time embracing contemporary building techniques. Furthermore, the structure serves as a public space for the townspeople; a place to relax and rejuvenate.

The building’s main entrance features two concrete pillars, akin to the temple gates present in traditional Japanese temples. Apart from dividing the structure into two distinct halves, the twin towers actually accentuate the temple’s entryway, turning it into a sort of visual experience. The first floor houses the shrine known, in Japanese, as the Honzon or the Gohonzon. A multipurpose hall, on the second floor, allows the worshippers to pray and meditate, in peace. According to the designers, the building’s single-pitched, gabled roof actually mirrors the traditional shapes of Buddhist temples, in Japan.

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Central to the temple’s design are three vertically-carved skylights, symbolic of the ‘Three Jewels’ of Buddhism: Butsu (Buddha), Ho (Dharma) and So (Sangha). Besides enhancing the availability of natural lighting, both on the first floor and in the hall upstairs, the strategically-placed skylights focus the sun’s warm glow directly onto the honzon, thus creating an environment congenial for pious pursuits.

Bringing together various aspects of traditional and modern architectural practices, the team of designers has created a communal space that nurtures people’s faith and religious sentiments, while at the same time fostering brotherhood and friendship.

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To know more about Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio and its projects, visit the firm’s official website.

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