Herman Miller Inc. Japan – Charity Auction Submission:
Temple of Water and Light – In 1994 I had the unique opportunity to live in Kyoto, Japan where I apprenticed under Master Carpenters of temple and shrine construction (Miya Daiku) for the Fukui (Komaten) Construction Company.
While studying traditional Japanese architecture and design, I embarked on a personal project to design a hypothetical temple. During this process, I became enamored with a temple called The Sazaedo (1796) in Aizu Wakamatsu. This temple housed double-helix ramps that allowed a worshiper to ascend on one and descend on the other while stopping along the way to visit each of the thirty-three shrines within (these shrines represented the Avalokitesvaros, the traditional thirty-three places of pilgrimage).
Like the Sazaedo, The Temple of Water and Light incorporates a spiraling circulation path in its layout. In this case, the spiral is initially a downward journey to a central reflecting pool before ascending the other path. The surrounding exterior ponds allow light on sunny days to reflect deep into temple. The water’s continuous state of movement is experienced on the silver leaf ceiling within.
On rainy days, water flows from the roof to a perimeter channel at the roof’s edge. The water then descends though the copper-lined wood bracket system back into the temple where it flows into a series of up-lite glass channels, cascading onto other descending glass channels toward the central reflecting pool. Water surrounds the viewer as moving image is projected onto the ceiling and the sound of flowing water echoes throughout the space.
This temple of the mind and spirit is dedicated to the victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.