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The Ribbon Chapel

NAP Architects have designed a wedding chapel in Hiroshima, Japan formed by two entwining spiral stairways.

The Ribbon Chapel

Located in the gardens of Bella Vista Sakaigahama, a resort hotel in Onomichi, Hiroshima, Japan, this wedding chapel is not only a striking piece of architecture; it comes loaded with symbolism.


Just as couples go through life’s journey and its twists and turns before uniting as one, the entwining stairways spiral upward before joining at their 15.4-metre high summit to form a single ribbon.



At the core of their movement is a chapel, with a view of a symbolic tree outside, and the ocean beyond that.


Typically, a building is composed of distinct elements: roof, wall, and floor. Here, however, the entwining stairways create the building’s roofs, eaves, walls and floors. The stairways widen in breadth in response to location and function, such as at the summit where the couple meet, in the directions having fine views, and in places where the eaves must be deep to shield the interior from the sun.


Adding to the symbolism is the wedding route that couples are invited to take to the altar. Each makes their way up a separate stairway to meet at the top, where they declare their vows before making their way back down together.


In describing this project, founder of NAP Architects Hiroshi Nakamura says, “The simple building is composed only of paths, along which sceneries of ocean, mountains, sky, and distant islands successively appear and disappear. Although it is only a small building, we endeavoured to accommodate the emotions of the bride and groom and the thoughts of the celebrants by extending the aisle to a total length of 160 metres and expanding the range of experiences.”

NAP Architects

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