Jun Itami’s Bangju Church (방주교회) – Jeju, South Korea

Located a mere stone’s throw away from the Tadao Ando-designed Bonte Museum, another structure by a Japanese architect isn’t so much a Christian church – at least from the exterior – as it is a work of art.

The Bangju Church (방주교회) on South Korea’s Jeju Island resembles an enclosed Noah’s Ark resting on water.  Translating in English to “Church of Sky,” it is one of several projects helmed by the late Jun Itami on the island and was completed just two years before the architect’s passing in 2011.


On a humid summer day, the angles at which the sunlight bounces off the roof juxtapose with the upward angles featured on the church itself, an effect that draws the viewer’s gaze upwards.



Unfortunately, visitors who are not members of the church cannot enter the building.  Although a visit consists of little more than a stroll around the building, for architecture enthusiasts, the Bangju Church is definitely worth checking out en route to other sites in the area.

The Bangju Church is located at 113, Sallongnam-ro 762beon-gil Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju Island, South Korea (63525안덕면 산록남로762번길 113, phone: +82 64-794-0611. A one-way taxi fare from the Jungmun Tourist Complex costs between KRW10,000 to 15,000 depending on traffic.  It is free to stroll the grounds.  For more information on the church, go to www.bangjuchurch.org (in Korean only).

Photos: Bangju Church, Jeju, South Korea
all photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine