A major earthquake in 2016 dealt a severe blow to Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture, as well as local treasure Kumamoto Castle. Stone walls, castle turrets and interior walls either collapsed or were severely damaged, undoing 60 years of prior restoration work. Now it’s being estimated that the castle’s restoration could take up to 20 years. But instead of closing off the work, Kumamoto City made the best of a bad situation: they created a beautiful arching pathway that invites visitors into the restoration process of their beloved relic.

There’s often a tendency for temporary pathways to be crude and ugly, with low-cost ambitions that end up spoiling whatever is meant to be viewed. But this aerial walkway, designed by Nihon Sekkei, manages to appear permanent and even beautiful in its use of materials that melds with the castle’s surrounding environment.

The Kuamoto Castle reconstruction observation path, which opened in March of this year, was the recipient of a 2020 Good Design Award.

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