Hongu Visitor Center Competition Proposal

2007 -

The idea here was to express the specific emotional resonance of the Kumano region in architectural form. It seemed that architecture that blended harmoniously into the landscape would be more fitting than something heroic.
Visitors can freely ascend and descend the long sloping roof, and with the Center serving as either a start point or an end point for the Kumano pilgrimage route, it provides numerous vantage points for people to look out over the mountains they are about to traverse or have just traversed. The expansive half-outdoor space beneath the eaves serves as a confluence point for the journey between Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine and Oyunohara, and there is a broad area including the social hall and some of the cafe area zone that can be enjoyed even on rainy days. The roof serves an “editorial” function, cutting a slice out of the landscape for viewers.
For the main structure I propose a new approach using see-through walls made of spaced, square logs, using locally sourced lumber. It consists of spaced square logs of Kishu cedar, and divides the space while serving as a continuous, flowing element that recreates the atmosphere of the Kumano Kodo mountain pilgrimage route by simulating dappled sunlight through the leaves of trees. The spaces between the laminated wood beams are not only absences, but can play various positive roles, and the see-through walls can function as a flexible system of display that showcases the surrounding natural environment in a multitude of ways.


location Tanabe City, Wakayama Pref.
principal use exhibition space, meeting hall
construction area 1,370m2
structure wood
1 story
competition result selected as one of the finalists at Open Design Competition in 2007