It’s not everyday that a Catholic church is built in Japan. And it’s also not everyday that it gets so much attention from the design community. Sunpu Church in Shizuoka Prefecture completed its renovation in April of this year under the direction of Taira Nishizawa Architects. The spectacular wood working is a nice change from all the minimal concrete structures we’ve been seeing in Japan recently. The delicate interior reminds me of the concentration required to play a game of Jenga. It actually really makes me want to play Jenga!

(images courtesy of minorugged)

What is fascinating about all of Nishizawa’s work is that he has grappled with a common theme over the years; the duality between the vulgarity of contemporary society and the formality of architecture. (That was a mouthful of ~itys) Perhaps designing a church, a space where people go to have their sins forgiven, was the ultimate experiment for Nishizawa to convey this theme.

(images courtesy of shuheigoto)

After establishing his own studio in 1993, Nishizawa went on to win numerous awards in Japan and abroad. In 2005 Architectural Record magazine included him in their world’s 10 “Design Vanguards.” (There is actually a nice slideshow of his work HERE if you are interested).