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Miho Institute of Aesthetics Chapel

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, I.M. Pei’s last significant work, serves as the physical and spiritual center of the 7-12th grade private institution with a holistic approach to natural agriculture and aesthetics.

The 240-seat chapel 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 8,454 individually curved Japanese red cedar wood planks on the interior cladding a structural concrete shell. The joints of the wood planks vary in size to control absorption of various sound wavelengths to create an optimal neutral space for congregation and contemplation.

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