Series Index of Window Sounds and Movements

Katsura Catholic Church

Yoh Komiyama (Product Designer)

12 Jan 2024


Completed in 1965, the Katsura Catholic Church in Kyoto is known as the only George Nakashima-designed building in Japan. The structure of the main building is composed simply of a thin, rhomboid hyperbolic paraboloid shell roof that is supported by two exposed reinforced concrete walls, while the interior is furnished with handcrafted wooden furniture and fixtures.
The building features distinctive round concrete windows that are overlaid with double sliding wooden windows. The round windows in the concrete wall are fitted with fixed glazing, and they have mesh screens, double sliding wooden windows, and double sliding wooden shōji (translucent lattice screens) layered over them on the interior side.
The design of these windows that superimpose and fuse the intricate wooden elements and round shōji windows found in traditional Japanese architecture with the round concrete windows of modernist architecture can be seen to embody George Nakashimaʼs trans-cultural background.
Nakashima was Catholic, but he was also a student of the Indian philosopher Aurobindo Ghosh, and he held an understanding of the Japanese spirit of Shintoism as well. Moreover, he kept an open mind towards modernist architecture despite being disillusioned with it, and while he valued handwork in the production of his wood furniture, he was not at all opposed to the use of machines. This multifaceted attitude of his is reflected powerfully in these windows.



Index of Window Sounds and Movements
The Index of Window Sounds and Movements is a project to observe and extract the sounds and movements of operable windows in order to understand how we perceive windows with our ears and eyes. This is the first research project of Window Products Inside, and it is being conducted as a collaboration between product designer Yoh Komiyama and the Window Research Institute, with videography by Tomohiro Okazaki.


Window Products Inside
Windows Products Inside is a research project initiated by product designer Yoh Komiyama. By extracting and redefining the various meanings that are implicit to the window as an object, the project hopes to uncover what is needed so that windows can create a diversity of new lifestyles, cultures, and new customs.