Appropriate Proportion


Go-Oh Shrine traces its origins back to the Muromachi (Ashikaga)

period (1338-1573). In recent years, however, the structure had

deteriorated considerably and was slated for reconstruction under the

Naoshima House Project. Called in as artist-designer, I avoided

existing shrine typologies and tried to recreate an imaginary

architecture more in keeping with ancient Japanese Shinto worship.

Prior to shinmyo-zukuri, the first Shinto architectural style formalized in

the seventh century, animist worship is thought to have focused on

sites in nature where some special quality or force was felt | ineffable

gpower placesh | whether in giant trees or waterfalls or boulders. The

ancient Japanese conceived of their kami or deities, as manifesting

themselves only when humans purified their gpower placesh for them.

Thus, my vision of Go-Oh Shrine started from the giant rock slob visited

by the local kami.

The shrine comprises three main parts: the Worship Hall, the Main

Sanctuary, and the Rock Chamber. The massive rock slab completely

cuts off the Worship Hall and the Main Sanctuary from the Rock

Chamber; only the gstairway of lighth joins the celestial and earthbound


From the underground chamber, a concrete-walled passage leads to

the mountainside. Visitors to the shrine first worship at the divine

iwakura (stone seat) and shrine hall, then descend to the gancienth

underground chamber via the concrete passage, lastly taking in a view

of the sea through the portal to the present on the way out.



- Hiroshi Sugimoto