Tiny Stacked Capsule Rooms Offer Lodging to Temple Visitors



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Climb a ladder to access a bedroom just large enough to fit a full-sized mattress at the Koyosan Guesthouse, built by Kyoto studio Alphaville Architects to house those visiting a nearby Shington Buddhist temple. Fittingly spare and monk-like, the guest house features an all-white interior with cathedral ceilings and skylights that pull natural light into the open common areas.

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The design takes inspiration from capsule hotels, offering guests the bare minimum of private space to sleep. The rooms are stacked two-high with pale wood doors; larger bedrooms with bunk beds are also available. Lounging and dining areas create a dormitory-style environment when guests want to socialize.

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With its clerestory windows and wooden construction, the design pays tribute to both traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture. The open framework consisting of rows of two-by-four wooden beams ensures that the contents of the building can easily be changed out in the future, making the shell of the building adaptable.

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Koyasan is a temple of the Shingon Buddhism sect founded 1,200 years ago, and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s located in the town of Koya, in the mountains to the south of Osaka.

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