Paper Church (Takatori Kyokai Church)
3-3-8, Kaiun-cho

Shigeru Ban, 1995

The Paper Church was constructed shortly after the devastating earthquake that shook the Kobe region in 1995 had burned down the existing Takatori church. The primary objective of the design of the church was a low-cost, easy-to-assemble structure that could be quickly and simply erected by volunteers to provide a place of worship for the victims of the earthquake.  Intended to be only a temporary structure, the church made of paper tubes is still standing to this day.

The beauty of the church is its modesty of materials.  A rectangular volume made of clear plastic louvers encloses an oval of 58 paper tubes 5 meters high, 330 millimeters in diameter which support a tent-like roof of white, Teflon-coated fabric. The paper tubes are built up from laminated layers of recycled paper to a thickness of 15 millimeters. Along the long axis of the oval the paper tube columns are spaced closely to form a back drop for the altar as well as a screen for the storage space beyond.  On the entry side the paper tube columns are spaced at a greater distance to allow entry and continuity between interior and exterior, so that when the doors are open the space of the church is extended to the exterior, which is also demarcated by the expansive overhanging roof that was part of a later addition.


Kari Silloway 2004  
with special thanks to Ko Teramoto

How to visit

From JR Osaka Station take JR Tokaido Line (local only) to JR Takatori Station (50 minutes). From here the church site can be found by walking five minutes to the South.

For more information please telephone +81 78 731 8300.

The church has now been relocated to a site in Taiwan, and reportedly nothing visible remains at the original site in Japan:

Information and photograph: Marcus Trimble 2005


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