CHURCH ON THE WATER (水の教会), Hoshino Resorts Tomamu (星野リゾート トマム), Hokkaido (北海道), Japan, 2019.06.22
Day 8 (1/4).
Many people acknowledge the harmonic relationship between buildings and nature in Japanese architecture. Taking the site’s natural context as design inspirations and the dominating factor for spatial arrangement is popular among modern Japanese architecture, where buildings are sometimes configured according to the site terrain or to a unique relationship with a natural element such as a feature tree or a water body. This respect to nature is quite apparent in the works of Tadao Ando.
On our way to Furano, we tried visiting Ando’s Chapel on the Water but failed to get in because of a private wedding taking place. We decided to return once again when we left Furano. To ensure entry, we managed to arrive at the official time for visit: 06:30 to 07:15. Getting to the chapel in Hoshino Resorts Tomamu (星野リゾート トマム) at 06:30 meaning we had to leave our hotel in Nakafurano at 5am.
We made it to Hoshino Resorts Tomamu (星野リゾート トマム) on time for the 6:30 visiting time slot for Ando’s Chapel on the Water.
We were surprised to find that at least 30 people were already waiting for the staff in the waiting lobby. We were soon led out to a path leading to the concrete enclosure of the chapel.
We walked along the concrete wall of the chapel until reaching an opening into the inner court.
Once we got into the inner court, we finally had our first glimpse of the beautiful chapel architecture and its famous cross in the water.
The entry path continued to the back corner of the chapel, where a flight of stairs led us up to the small semi enclosed platform dominated by the cross concrete members.
From the platform we followed a spiral staircase descending down to the main chapel space.
Used for wedding ceremonies, the chapel is simple and elegant. The prime focus for all visitors is the view of the cross and water pond, which takes the place of the traditional altar piece.
The enormous opening can be shut with the hydraulic powered sliding door.
Once the door is shut, the sound of the moving water would be shut off from the interior.
The staff demonstrated the closing and opening of the sliding door for us.
Once the door was opened, the interior was filled with the sound of moving water again.
The exterior scenery was peaceful and calming. The boundary between the interior and exterior didn’t seem to exist.
We could sit there for a long time just to take in the peaceful scenery and calming sound of water and birds. We could imagine how the scenery might change in different seasons.
To exit, we followed the spiral staircase to the lower level, passed through a circular space and left the building from its side.
Outside the building, we could see the frame structure housing the track for the sliding door.
Just like the Church of Light, visiting an early work of Tadao Ando is always touching and inspiring. Taking the effects of light, reflections, sounds and water to formulate the spatial qualities of the architecture, seeing his buildings has always been a spiritual experience for us.
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HOKKAIDO ROAD TRIP, Hokkaido (北海道)
Day 2 – Utoro
Day 2.1 SHIRETOKO FIVE LAKES (知床五湖)
Day 2.2 UTORO FISHERMAN’S WIVES CO-OPERATIVE DINER (ウトロ漁協婦人部食堂)
Day 2.3 FUREPE FALLS (フレペの滝)
Day 6 – On the road from Lake Akan to Furano
Day 6.1 FISHERMEN BELOW MISTY OAKAN (雄阿寒岳), Lake Akan (阿寒湖)
Day 6.2 TREATS OF OBIHIRO (帯広), Tokachi (十勝)
Day 6.3 ARRIVING IN FURANO (富良野)
Day 7 Furano & Biei
Day 7.1 LAVENDER BUDS, Nakafurano (中富良野)
Day 7.2 FARM TOMITA (ファーム富田), Nakafurano (中富良野)
Day 7.3 BI.BLE, Biei (美瑛)
Day 7.4 PATCHWORK ROAD & PANORAMA ROAD, Biei (美瑛)
Day 7.5 NINGLE TERRACE (ニングルテラス)
Day 8 – from Furano to Otaru
Day 8.1 CHURCH ON THE WATER (水の教会), Hoshino Resorts Tomamu (星野リゾート トマム)
Day 8.2 HILL OF THE BUDDHA (頭大仏), Makomanai Takino Cemetery (真駒内滝野霊園)
Day 8.3 SEAFOOD, CANAL, & HISTORY, Otaru (小樽)
Day 8.4 RAINY NIGHT IN OTARU, Otaru (小樽)
Day 10 – Sapporo
10.1 OKKAIDO SHRINE (北海道神宮 )
10.2 MORIHICO COFFEE (森彦珈琲本店)
10.3 KITAKARO SAPPORO HONKAN (北菓楼札幌本館)
10.4 SATURDAYS CHOCOLATE
10.5 GOTSUBO OYSTER BAR(五坪)
10.6 MOUNT MOIWA (藻岩山) & RAMEN HARUKA (ラーメン悠)
Day 11 – Sapporo
11.1 FORMER HOKKAIDO GOVERNMENT OFFICE (北海道庁旧本庁舎)
11.2 RED STAR & GENGKIS KHAN, Sapporo Beer Museum (サッポロビール株式会社)