This spiraling marvel of modern architecture is poetry in design. It is inspired by the act of marriage — its form follows the paths of two souls as they are joined in matrimony. The Ribbon Chapel by NAP Architects is a remarkable work of sculptural architecture, instantly one of the most striking modern wedding chapels on the planet.
The Ribbon Chapel is defined by its spiraling staircases in both design and engineering. These twin staircases are also the support structure for the building, they form the walls and the ceiling over the interior chapel. The symbolism of the Ribbon Chapel continues here, as a marriage is strengthened by the support of each spouse. Take one away, and such a remarkable building could not exist as it does.
“By joining two spiral stairways so that one supports the other, we produced a free-standing structure. Just as two lives go through twists and turns before uniting as one, the two spirals seamlessly connect at their 15.4m summit to form a single ribbon. At the core of their movement is a chapel where the people who have supported the bride and groom are waiting.”
The layout of the chapel’s interior is designed to host a formal, familiar wedding. An aisle in the center divides the guests, and the bride and groom approach to be married in front of their loved ones. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom walk to their own separate spiral staircase to ascend to the peak of the building. Atop the structure, the couple “asks for heaven’s permission to join as one, and declare their marriage”. It is a beautiful style of ceremony, one rich with symbolism that is provided by the unique architecture of the building.
The location of the Ribbon Chapel only adds to its charm. It overlooks an ocean inlet in Hiroshima, located on the grounds of Bella Vista Sakaigahama, a luxury hotel. The couples who climb its peak are treated to a special, intimate view of the Hiroshima coast that only they can experience as one.
Ribbon Chapel by NAP Architects | Gallery
[photography by Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners]