backbone

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Keisoku-in is an ancient Buddhist temple of Soutou-shu sect, which was founded at the end of Muromachi Period, famed for the 1779 thatched temple gate with a bell tower and nearby stone-chambered tumulus (circa late 6th or 7th century). This project involves renovating Keisoku-in’s old kuri (priests’ living quarters) into a duplex house for two families of old and new chief priests.
The existing kuri comprises three wings – the main building (omoya) enclosing a backyard, a barn (naya) used as the priests’ waiting room, and a storehouse with thick earthen walls (dozou). In order to integrate these three structures together, a cross-shaped single-story volume was fitted at the backyard void. A long, corridor-like space along the east-west axis of the cross acts as a boundary: on its north side is a public zone open to parishioners while on the south side is a private zone catering to living functions. Along the north-south axis is a sunny living room that is open on its southeast corner; the new living room in the middle, the parents located to the east, and the children’s area on the west. At the intersection is a large high side light. Around the dim dozou is a glazed gallery which declutters the confusion in the circulation between the kuri and the main hall.
A reinforced concrete frame consisting of a newly-added colonnade and cantilever combined with a flat slab is regarded as the infrastructure of the entire kuri. From a structural point of view, it also adds earthquake-resistance to the existing structures. Elements from the existing exterior walls of the kuri such as the bay windows are introduced to the interior of the newly-extended area. Other feature elements from the existing exterior such as the beautiful masonry retaining walls, sculptural exterior stairs of reinforced concrete, pond and water well will be further interiorized. Moreover, a roof deck will be installed which will trace the upturned curves of old and new roofs. This roof deck is a pleasant place of privacy protected from the other temple grounds by the roofs, with a sweeping view over the Ina-dani valley and the distant Southern Alps of Japan.

location Iida City, Nagano
principal use Temple priest’s Quarters)
completion date estimated in 2016
total floor area 165m2
structure wood frame, reinforced concrete
2 stories

photos by Yoshiro Masuda