In Makomanai Takino Reien Cemetery in Sapporo, architect Tadao Ando build a prayer hall that enhance the attractiveness of a stone Buddha of 13.5 meters sculpted 15 years ago. The project titled ‘The Hill of the Buddha’ came out in december 2015.
Tadao Ando’s statement
in an essay for domus magazine
Our idea was to cover the Buddha below the head with a hill of lavender plants. We called the idea the ‘head-out Buddha’. Embedded under the hill are a 40-metre approach tunnel and a rotunda embracing the statue. The design intention was to create a vivid spatial sequence, beginning with the long approach through the tunnel in order to heighten anticipation of the statue, which is invisible from the outside. When the hall is reached, visitors look up at the Buddha, whose head is encircled by a halo of sky at the end of the tunnel.
The Hill of the Buddha is planted with 150,000 lavenders that turn fresh green in spring, pale purple in summer and silky white with snow in winter. The project might be considered on the scale of landscape rather than architecture. It required a special frame of mind to rearrange the environment, and was a challenging and precious experience for us.
The Hill of the Buddha
Photography – Shigeo Ogawa, Hiroo Namiki