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Hill of the Buddha


The Hill of the Buddha is a giant Buddha statue located atop a small hill near a cemetery in the Japanese island Hokkaido. The statue was built some 15 years ago, but it was only in December 2015, that the landscape around it was sculpted to highlight the massive figure.

“The aim of this project was to build a prayer hall that would enhance the attractiveness of a stone Buddha sculpted 15 years ago,” explains architect Tadao Ando. “The site is a gently sloping hill on 180 hectares of lush land belonging to a cemetery. The statue is 13.5 meters tall and weighs 1500 tons. It is made of fine, highly selected solid stone. Until now, the Buddha statue has stood alone in the field, giving an unrestful impression. The client wanted to give visitors a more serene appreciation of the Buddha.”

“Our idea was to cover the Buddha below the head with a hill of lavender plants. We called the idea the ‘head-out Buddha’. Embedded under the hill are a 40-metre approach tunnel and a rotunda embracing the statue. The design intention was to create a vivid spatial sequence, beginning with the long approach through the tunnel in order to heighten anticipation of the statue, which is invisible from the outside. When the hall is reached, visitors look up at the Buddha, whose head is encircled by a halo of sky at the end of the tunnel.”

“The Hill of the Buddha is planted with 150,000 lavenders that turn fresh green in spring, pale purple in summer and silky white with snow in winter. The project might be considered on the scale of landscape rather than architecture. It required a special frame of mind to rearrange the environment, and was a challenging and precious experience for us.”





Source : Vitra and Design Boom

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