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Setre Chapel in Kobe by Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects

Setre chapel plan jpg

A concrete cantilever eschews overt symoblism for the dramatic

Read the Multifaith typology here

Japanese religion is syncretic, being composed of Shinto, Buddhist and Christian elements. And although only 1-2 per cent of the Japanese population is Christian, around 80 per cent of Japanese weddings are celebrated in a Christian style – that is to say, they have some of the trappings of a Christian wedding but are without any sacramental status and are not conducted by ordained ministers. Instead, Westerners are often hired from specialist agencies to play the part of the priest, and the ceremony commonly takes place in chapels that are likewise confected from ersatz elements of Western-style culture. The gleaming white Cristea Church on Okinawa is particularly splendid, with its gothic pinnacles and Corinthian columns, but there are some rather less-kitsch examples of the type – a case in point is Setre Chapel, constructed for a hotel in Kobe. Here there is no overt symbolism; instead, the dramatic site provides a sense of the ineffable, and hints at the Shinto element of Japanese syncretism. The concrete structure is cantilevered over the lobby and terminates with a glazed wall looking west over the sea to where the sun sets behind Akashi Bridge.

Setre Chapel  Kobe  japan

Setre Chapel Kobe japan

Ground floor plan