Spiritual Utility

Kuhonji Buddhist Temple Gate and Ossuary, Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan

Spiritual Utility

CLIENT: Kuhonji Buddhist Temple

ARCHITECT: Furuichi & Associates, Tokyo

BUILDING TYPE: Buddhist Temple

Japan's Kuhonji Temple faced a crisis: Local authorities, fearing a landslide, ordered its sloping burial ground to be demolished and a retaining wall to be put in its place. The temple responded in an innovative way. The wall doubled as an ossuary, housing not just the 100 existing tombs but 300 new ones, which were sold to finance construction. A new hall for weddings would generate funds for a sacred pond, a Buddhist motif. The architects thus "made this an extension of a belief system," says juror Chee Pearlman.

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