Cross Tower by Kensuke Watanabe
Architecture Studio


Japanese architects Kensuke Watanabe Architecture Studio have completed an arch with a cross at its apex outside a church in Tokorozawa, Japan.

Called Cross Tower, the structure is 7.8 metres tall and made of 28 millimeter-thick sheet steel, painted white.

The sides bend outwards towards the bottom to give strength to the piece and create a welcoming gateway into the church.

Here's some more information from Kensuke Watanabe Architecture Studio:


Cross Tower

The project is a Cross Tower added to an existing church in Tokorozawa, Japan.

The existing church complex had difficulty being recognized as a catholic church because of its gymnasium-like appearance with no significant symbol. With the addition of this Cross Tower, the existing complex will easily be acknowledged as a church, showing its religious faith and Christian activities.

New Cross Tower was designed as a 7.8m height arch with cross on top, made of steel plate 500mm wide and 28mm thick. The use of a single material from the ground to top is representing the connection of heaven and earth, as well as the oneness of the people with God.

By using the technique of plate forming for shipbuilding, the steel plate is gradually twisted toward the bottom facing outside, strengthening the structural stability. This outward shape is also creating a welcoming gesture which enables the tower to serve as a gate for people to walk through daily or in ceremonial occasions. The surface of steel is painted white and reflects sun, color of sky, or shadow of clouds.

Client: Tokorozawa Catholic Church
Architect: kwas/kensuke watanabe architecture studio, Kensuke Watanabe, Yuji Mukaiyama
Structure: Ken Nagasaka Engineering Network, Kentaro Nagasaka
Construction: Eiger co., ltd, Noriaki Fujii, Koji Misaki
Steel Fabrication: Takahashi Kogyo co., ltd, Kazushi Takahashi, Yoshiaki Onodera

Posted on Tuesday January 26th 2010 at 6:40 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • slater

    Do they have a sister church in St. Louis, Missouri? Just kidding, this is nice.

  • kai

    you mean, the Gateway Arch by Saarinen in St. Louis?
    ahaha, this is the mock-up. anyway, tidy and nice!

  • Japr

    nice! very sharp and clean execution, but cannot avoid seeing McDonalds inspired- Pop Mart U2 tour scenery meeting catholicism!

    as an atheist , I thought the cross simbolic value was to connect earth and heaven, with nothing capping the energy flow between the cross and heaven.

    at least in churches and chapels the cross is always hanging, or fixed to the wall with some space for aura around it. is this being too critical?

  • portionspread

    this is fresh. like it. don't like religion. like this!

  • Gunnar Á.

    Tower looking good but does not fit the building, deserves a better fit

  • Always love religious/spiritual inspired spaces.

    Perhaps this is the waterfall pouring from Jesus to quench the thirst of the people. Light being cast that is a doorway into the sacred space beyond. Perhaps it is the rainbow of the covenant.

    I will say, my only disappointment was the choice of materials. I think this would have been far more satisfying out of wood, or cement.


    Beautiful, makes me wish I was religious. Form = Stucture = Form

  • Claire

    This arch shape makes you wanna look up to the cross on top. Cross being part of the sky, reflecting sun & sky & clouds, symbolic of pure faith towards heaven. Nice!

  • Juan Carlos Cortazar


  • very reminiscent of the arch in St Louis by eero saarinen!
    nice and fluid