Temple architecture

Kengo Kuma creates pavilion supported by living bamboo at Kyoto temple

Architecture studio Kengo Kuma and Associates has built a pavilion with a textile roof supported by bamboo stalks on the grounds of a temple in Kyoto, Japan.


Named Kyoto Yudo Pavilion, the structure designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates was built in a bamboo grove inside the temple site.

Kengo Kuma and Associates designed the Kyoto Yudo pavilion for a temple in Japan

The studio used Tyvek, a synthetic fabric made from polyethylene fibers, to weave a geometric diamond pattern backed by living bamboo.

“When I saw the beautiful bamboo forest, I wondered if I could use bamboo as a pillar,” said Kengo Kuma and Associates founder Kengo Kuma.

“By leaving as much live bamboo as possible and using it as a support, I was able to eliminate the vertical element,” he told Dezeen.

“By weaving Tyvek in three dimensions, I transformed a simple flat surface into a three-dimensional work of art.”

Fabric forms a fabric ceiling above a spa
It extends over an outdoor spa area

The fabric was tied to the bamboo stalks that surround the opening in the grove while an outdoor bath was placed in the center of the glade to form a spa-like area.

Inside the Kyoto Yudo pavilion, a dappled light filters through the grove and the white swinging fabric.

“The material was selected because it was closest to Japanese paper, which transmits light, in a material that combines water resistance, tensile strength and light weight,” Kuma said.

The pavilion was designed to be an intimate space for guests that invites its visitors to connect with the serene and calming surroundings.

“The method of using the surrounding living bamboo as a support for the fabric is ‘overcome architecture’ itself, and the white fabric sways when the wind blows,” the studio said.

An outdoor bathtub is pictured under the fabric pavilion
He filters the light in the opening of the bamboo grove

“A bathtub was placed under this ‘fabric architecture’ to create a semi-outdoor bath where visitors could play with the hot water in the filtered light,” the studio continued.

“We believe that softness is necessary for buildings that fit into nature. We want something softer than wood, we are very interested in the possibilities of fabrics.”

The pavilion is attached to bamboo branches
The pavilion blends into the bamboo grove

Last year, Kengo Kuma and Associates added mountain-shaped restrooms and rest areas to a hiking trail that overlooks Mount Fuji.

In 2020, Japanese architect and practice founder Kengo Kuma collaborated with artist Geoff Nees to create a circular pavilion from wood collected from Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.