Ala Champ
 
00:00/

PARKHOTEL MONDSCHEIN

A Rich Cultural History Combined with a Refined Design Aesthetic at this Modern Luxe Hotel

FUFU KYOTO

An Intimate Luxury Hotel that Entwines Traditional Japanese Dining, Architecture and Hospitality with Modern Elegance

JACQUEMUS PARIS

A Pure Interior Led By Playfulness and Surprise

The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre

The Charred-Brick 'Black Box' Presenting The Beauty Of Theatre & Performance

GAIA

British Artist Luke Jerram’s Explores The Vastness of Our Earth

Honouring ISSEY MIYAKE

The Legacy Remains: Merging Art & Fashion, East & West, Tradition & Technical Innovation

UNITED PLACES BOTANIC GARDENS

Local and Luxurious, A Melbourne Boutique Hotel That Gets It Right

Naoshima Ryokan ROKA

Designed by Okayama-based studio Nottuo, a New Modern Stay on Japan’s ‘Art Island’

Restaurang ÄNG

NORM Architects Creates A Light-Filled Glasshouse For The Michelin-Starred Restaurant

JAPANESE CRAFTSMANSHIP: BAMBOO WEAVING

In The Quiet Backstreets Of Kyoto's South Higashiya, Find A Master Craftsman

HOMME PLISSÉ ISSEY MIYAKE SS23

As Ever, The Joy Of Movement & Ease of Pleats Prevails

Serpentine Pavilion 2022

Artist Theaster Gates Designs the 21st Pavilion

BRUT-AL

Argentinian-Australian Designer Alexander Lotersztain's Ode to Brutalism

Serpentine Pavilions 2000-2021

A Champ Online Retrospective Of Two Decades of The Radical Architectural Event

PURE FORM

The Art Gallery of South Australia Presents Japan's Avant-Garde Ceramics

KABIRA & KANGRI

The Beauty Of Indian Textile Craftsmanship In ISSEY MIYAKE Sub-Brand HaaT's SS22 Collection

Hill of the Buddha

Tadao Ando's Lavender-Lined Entrance to the Monumental Structure

July, 2020
Hill of the Buddha | Photo Benedetta Anghileri

In Japan there’s this idea that every individual should leave a free-zone in each other’s life to live quiet and peaceful. If a city is well-designed, this means there are green areas around public and private spaces. Walking through them, it feels like taking a deep breath between life’s happenings. Travel around Japan and you will easily notice that, every time there’s an attraction to visit, you actually need to walk quite away from the train station through a park-like space to get to the venue. This is deliberately designed as an essential part of the experience: walking through this physical / mental space gives you time to decompress and focus on what’s next.

Japanese architect Tadao Ando applied this simple rule when the Makomanai Takino Cemetery asked him to do something in order to improve visitors’ experience and appreciation. The funerary ground is home to a 15.5 meter high stone Buddha that has been seated alone with nothing around for 15 years.

Using just raw concrete, water and natural light, Ando seamlessly blended his minimal architecture with the surroundings | Photo Benedetta Anghileri

Ando’s idea was to hide the Buddha under a hill covered in lavender plants. Only the top of the statue’s head pokes out from the high-ground open roof, creating a first visual encounter between the visitors and the tightly curled coils of hair on the Buddha’s head.

The journey starts towards a water garden, a rectangular mirror of moving water. Rather than have you directly walk towards the Buddha, Ando makes you circle around it, as a way to purify yourself.

For Buddhists water is said to symbolize purity, clarity and calmness. Interiors and exteriors are blurred. Using just raw concrete, water and natural light, Ando seamlessly blended his minimal architecture with the surroundings.

"Rather than have you directly walk towards the Buddha, Ando makes you circle around it, as a way to purify yourself" | Photo Benedetta Anghileri

The last 40 meters are meant to be experienced through a tunnel to finally arrive underneath the statue, which is only visible once you reach the end of it. When the hall is reached and you find yourself in a circular concrete bunker structure, you look up at the Buddha, staring at his head encircled by a halo of sky.

This intimacy is undoubtedly the result of Ando’s humble genius. His forging of art, architecture and environment seems effortless but feels so deeply thought.

Buddha is a monumental 15.5 metres tall | Photo Benedetta Anghileri
Hill of the Buddha | Photo Benedetta Anghileri
Hill of the Buddha | Photo Benedetta Anghileri
Hill of the Buddha | Photo Benedetta Anghileri
Hill of the Buddha | Photo Benedetta Anghileri
Surrounded by lavender fields in Ando's re-design | Photo Benedetta Anghileri

Makomanai Takino Cemetery
2-3 Takino, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 005-0862, Japan

The Makomanai Cemetery can be reached via car (30-min drive from central Sapporo) or subway (from Sapporo Station to Makomanai Station and then board the #2 or #3 bus)

Find more Japan destinations on @champ_travel and @delvewithus
#champ_japan #champ_sapporo

Photography: Luca Mazzucchelli & Benedetta Anghileri
Words: Benedetta Anghileri

This article is part of a cross-publishing initiative with DELVE WITH US

July, 2020