Setagaya Shizen no Mori – Garden for grave yard, Myoyuji temple by

2023 Other / Japan / Built in 2021 /

In aging society in Japan, there is a shortage of graves. In addition, the diversity of family structures has led to the diversification of grave forms, such as those that are not necessary to be inherited to the next generation, though traditional hereditary graves. Recently, tombs installed in buildings, wall tombs, and simple tombs with only a name plate have been introduced. By rapid changes in grave forms, there are many users who do not accept major changes and wish to choose a similar grave to traditional forms, even if it is a single person’s grave that will not be inherited.

Therefore, in this project, we begin to think from design of main stones. While leaving the columnar stones seen in conventional graves, we design slimmer and more compact shape. In addition, because there is popular concept of “return to nature,” as is the case with the recently popular tree burials, we aimed to create a cemetery where the tombstones are placed in a garden, rather than in the conventional Japanese cemetery where only tombstones are arranged in an orderly fashion.

The site was originally used as a garden with seasonal trees. In this project, we planned the cemetery to reserve the most of these trees as much as possible. Since the cemetery area was limited and the site was long and narrow, we designed a long and narrow open-air garden from the garden to the existing cemetery. The entire garden is a series of hedges, and the pathway is a linear arc from the entrance to the cemetery, allowing the landscape to unfold in depth as you walk through the garden, creating a space with depth as a cemetery. The pavement material is a stone pavement. Wooden louver walls are installed in places as partition walls to gently divide the space, aiming to make the long and narrow cemetery a small space on a human scale.

The project is characterized by the integrated design from the gravestones to the cemetery, so that even the tombstones become part of the garden. For the pavement material, a traditional method of pavement called “ararekoboshi,” which can be seen at Katsura-rikyu palace garden, is used as a pavement that beautifully shows the expression of the stone. The tombstones are designed to show the original beauty of the stone by using different finishes on each side, such as small beats and different polished finishes, to give the stone a variety of expressions. In order to enhance the affinity with the garden, the tombstone was designed to resemble a lantern, which is often placed in gardens, to enhance the harmony of the overall landscape. The shade of the headstone is made of weather-resistant steel plate, and the flower stand on the side of the headstone is made of folded zinc phosphate treated steel plate, like wrapping paper for a bouquet of flowers, to create a tension and delicacy in contrast to the stone. Plants used in the garden are flowers and grasses that have been familiar to the community for a long time, creating a space to remember the deceased.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: Matsudo Landscape, oikos landscape architects inc.

Location: 4-16-1, KIta-karasuyama, Setagaya, Tokyo

Design year: 2020

Year Completed: 2021


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