Yashima Park’s pavilion curves reveal surprising views of the surrounding nature

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Yashima Mountaintop Park is a project located in the Setonaikai National Park near Takamatsu City, Japan. The Yashima Mountain is a highly-appreciated natural treasure and a national landmark. This project emphasizes the aim to revitalize the mountaintop and maximize its potential. Before the revitalization project, the top features several buildings for sightseers; however, with the decreasing number of sightseers over time and as the structures fell into disrepair, they all have been demolished. Then, the area entered the process of returning to nature since it is nationally preserved with strict building regulations.

The Kyoto-based architectural studio SUO, in collaboration with Style-A, designed a long building that blends naturally into the environment to actualize its potential. The snaking volume has a total length of 220 meters and follows the topography and changing levels of the terrain. It sometimes touches the ground and then lifts up, seamlessly integrating into the landscape.


The winding walkway serves as both an observatory and a local landmark. It provides stunning natural views of the mountainous landscape of Setonaikai National Park. The project also includes a multi-purpose hall that can be used for exhibitions, events, and conferences, as well as a cafe that floats in the trees for visitors. The building is supported by thin, white-steel columns and a concrete base that gradually widens from the ground. The concrete base serves various functions to accommodate the other functions of the place.

The entrance to the building is accessible via a large open space located under the elevated part of the structure. This leads to a central courtyard that is defined by a snaking walkway. The pavilion features a central enclosed path created by full-height glazing. A sheltered balcony space follows its curving form around the outer edge, providing external viewing areas. Within the courtyard, there are custom-made circular benches and trees, along with stone steps that allow one to cross the sloping site at its center. This creates an informal seating area that is suitsble for gatherings and events.


The project’s aerial view has a distinguished flowing curve that perfectly blends through nature. Visitors can observe the building’s top from an elevated point on the mountain. The roof tiles are made of Aji Ishi, a locally sourced grey granite from Mure-Cho and Aji-Cho, towns adjacent to Yashima. The curves represent the turns, and each turn reveals a surprising appearance of the surrounding nature. The changing volume of the gallery, widening and narrowing, was created by the design team to naturally lead visitors’ perception of the lush terrain with peripheral views of trees and emphasize the feeling of walking in the forest.


Project info:

Architects: SUO, Style-A
Structural Engineer: Mutsuro Sasaki, Yoshiyuki Hiraiwa, Nobuyuki Takimoto
Electrical and mechanical engineer: P.T. Morimura & Associates
Lighting design: Shozo Toyohisa
Furniture design: Takashi Suo
Photography: SUO

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