Kumano Kodo Center Competition Proposal

2003 -

This facility is intended as a start or end point for the section of the Kumano Kodo (a network of pilgrimage routes and sacred sites) over Mt. Yaki. The site is a sort of nexus in the terrain, where the unique character of the Kumano mountain range intersects with that of the city of Owase, Mie Prefecture. The proposal is for a structure primarily consisting of a square pavilion roof evoking the kiosk-like thatched-roof structures (chado) found along the pilgrimage route. The large wood-frame tiled pavilion roof serves as a landmark particularly suited to this high-rainfall region of Japan.
The road adjacent to the Center is incorporated into the design through activity zones on or alongside the road, which on the facility premises is gathered into a cloverleaf formation of rounded alcoves. At the same time, the tongue-like forms of these alcoves reflect the terraced topography of the surrounding landscape. Where road comes up against terrain, and mountain meets town, the Center stands as the architectural face of a boundary zone. The design emphasizes the integration of these two seemingly opposing forces, and boundaries artificially delineated by humankind somehow seem to fade in importance.
The facade of the structure is a long, undulating wooden wall, one part of which has the pavilion roof placed on top of it, forming a building in the center of the series of cul-de-sac-like alcoves. The roof serves to separate the three zones of the Center, each of which has its own function. Interior, roofed exterior, and outdoor (multi-purpose plaza) areas of the facility are divided yet connected, continuous and interrelated.


location Owase City, Mie Pref.
principal use museum
total floor area 2,480m2
structure steel, reinforced concrete
2 stories
competition result Honourable Mention, Open Design Competition in 2003