Miho Institute of Aesthetics Chapel

Design: 2008-2010
Construction: 2010-2012
Architect: I. M. Pei
Project Architect: Hiroshi Okamoto
Associate Architects: I. O. Architects
Local Executing Architects: Masatoyo Ogasawara Architects

Situated in the mountains of Shigaraki, Japan, the Chapel of the Miho Institute of Aesthetics serves as the physical and spiritual center of the private institution with a holistic approach to natural agriculture and aesthetics. The 240 seat chapel is I.M. Pei’s last significant work.

The form results from folding a two-dimensional fan-shaped surface into a conical volume, defined geometrically by a lemniscate curve, or a torus sectioned tangent to its inner circle. The lofted surface between the top and bottom curves is fabricated with 51 custom-warped stainless steels panels on the exterior and over 8,000 individual Japanese red cedar wood planks on the interior. A concrete shell defines the structure and acoustic insulation to provide a neutral space for congregation and contemplation.