Completed in 2000, the simplistic beauty of Takashi Yamaguchi & Associates’ Glass Temple still stands unwavered. Located in Kyoto, Japan at foot of Mount Funayama where the hills are burnt to suggest souls entering paradise, this temple stands as a accompaniment to the existing Reigenko-jj, an imperial temple built by emperor Gomizuni-o in 1638.
As a place of worship, the reaction to the site by Takashi Yamaguchi & Associates is one based on working with the flow of time. The architects sought to overlay our own time on the past in a way that would render it distinct. There is an overt and obvious appreciation for the sacred-ness of the site through the still-ness of the materiality and form. There is an obvious quiet-ness imposed also. Purposely sunken into the site, this Glass Temple represents a retreated respect to the existing temple, the site and its spiritual importance.
The architects, when visiting the site, commented that they saw clearly how the building had lived and breathed within the flow of time from past to present. The emphasis then became to engage in a built outcome that would also breathe; have a sense of purity and embody an ethereal core.
The use of pure form, colour, transparent and frosted materials and subtle lighting elements assist in creating a place of reflection. Takashi Yamaguchi & Associates execution with respect to the existing temple is to be revered.