Many traditional buildings, including temples, shrines, and townhouses, remain in Kyoto, an ancient capital of Japan. Higashi Honganji Temple, which enshrines the goshin-ei (portrait) of Saint Shinran, the founder of the Shinshu sect Otani school, is located in the north of Kyoto Station. The Shinran Koryu-kan was built next to the Temple in the north to transmit St. Shinran’s teachings of throughout Japan and overseas.
The appearance of this two-story building with a traditional tiled roof and low-height deep eaves utilizes the frontage that stretches approximately 55 meters to the east and west to attach importance to the long beautiful horizontal line of the eaves, thus providing a friendly atmosphere. Furthermore, this deep-depth building has a small courtyard with Japanese natural stones that guide light and wind, while the trees there show the passage of the seasons and decorate the courtyard with tinted leaves in autumn. The plane that surrounds the courtyard represents an image of followers forming a ring, helping each other, and learning St. Shinran’s teachings. Various activities are seen from the courtyard that serves as a place of good communication. The research and administrative rooms on the second floor, in particular, surrounding the courtyard keeps the slope of the tiled roof as it is on the ceiling to make a wide space that leads natural light through the high windows and courtyard.
The straight staircase connecting the first and second floors consists of horizontally stacked cedar plates compared to the long history of the Temple. The stair treads of the staircase protrude from the stacked cedar plates, the ends of which are slung with thin reinforcing bars, while the skylight illuminates the wall and stairs with natural light, thus creating an impressive space. The building uses laminated furniture, including benches, harmonized with the architectural space.
Originally established as the interior design department of NIKKEN SEKKEI LTD, Nikken Space Design (NSD) has more than 60 years of experience in the field. As a part of the Nikken group since 1994, NSD now works not only with Nikken Sekkei but is also in partnership with various architects and artists. With 60 highly experienced designers, NSD is currently working on numerous design projects for Japanese and international clients.