The Ribbon Chapel - one of my favourite buildings - Part One
The Ribbon Chapel designed by Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP is one of the many buildings on my list of places to go and see someday. It takes its name from the pair of timber clad staircases that wind around the exterior of the glazed wedding chapel.
The 15.4 (around 50ft) building is on a hillside over looking the Seto Inland Sea and is in the grounds of the Bella Vista Sakaigahama Hotel, near Onomichi, Japan.
"By entwining two spiral stairways, we realised a free-standing building of unprecedented composition and architecturally embodied the act of marriage in a pure form,"
By using two intertwining spiral staircases Hiroshi Nakamura and his firm were able to design and build a truly remarkable building. A single spiral staircase would have been too unstable - by joining two they support each other where they cross paths at several points. The stairs are clad in vertical planks of white-painted wood, and have curving titanium zinc alloy hand rests to withstand erosion from the sea breeze. They also perform as roofs, walls and eaves as well. Additional vertical support is provided by 10cm (nearly 4") diameter steel posts.
“By twining the stairways creatively, they perform unconventional roles and we’ve succeeded in creating a pure form of architecture using stairways,”
Together with a large oculus skylight, glass windows between the stairways allow lots of natural light into the building and spectacular views of the bay below.
The marriage ceremony is performed in a glazed chapel that seats around 80 people. The Nuptials are completed on the rooftop where the two staircases widen and join - connecting the bride and groom who travel up separate flights. Once the vows are completed the couple then choose a route to descend together.
"Just as two lives go through twists and turns before uniting as one, the two spirals seamlessly connect at their 15.4-metre summit to form a single ribbon," said Nakamura.
“I wedded my own wife there and it was a very special moment to have the ceremony in a building that I designed,” says Nakamura.
It's a spectacular building - truly iconic and totally unprecedented.
I love Architecture. I think it's vital to talk about all aspects of Architecture - whether it be planning, construction, design or green building. I have written 3 E-Books & over 110 articles. Please feel free to let me know if you have any queries regarding architecture, planning & construction & I will assist you.
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I am originally from the UK and moved to South Africa in 1999. I started Blue Designs in 2004 after working as a driver for Avalon Construction on a luxury home in the Featherbrook Estate. In my spare time I am an artist and writer.
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