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KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden

as Director of SANDWICH Inc.

Architecture that floats on woods

 KOHTEI is an art pavilion built in Shinshoji Zen Museum and Gardens within the campus of Tenshinzan Shinshoji temple in Fukuyama-city, Hiroshima, Japan. The temple was founded by the shipbuilding company to console the spirit of the dead in accidents at sea and in industry. KOHTEI offers visitors an opportunity to contemplate the spirit of Zen by looking at its llandscape gardens and being subjected to a meditation-like experience through its art installation.



  The approach from the footbridge provides the visitor with a breathtaking first impression. KOHTEI's distinctive form was inspired by the roots of temple’s establishment as well as resembling the motif of a ship together with an image of traditionally formulated temple's statics and their form. The theme of materials is then focused on three fundamental materials “Wood”, “Stone” and “Water”.

KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden

Use of Traditional wood roofing technique

  The body of the pavilion is entirely covered with Sawara wood (Japanese cypress). The woodwork on the roof was laid using Kokera-buki, a traditional roofing technique that is available in Japan for thousands of years. This is a kind of shingle roofing there were 100mm x 300mm x 3mm thick, and 9 layers of tiles are fixed with bamboo nails making one roof compound. In total, 340,000 pieces were laid by the16th generation roofing master based in Kyoto. For the soffit, 250,000 pieces of 100mm x 100mm Sawara wood tiles were used in order to give a monolithic appearance to the pavilion. The experience of standing underneath such space enhances the stark materiality of the landscape against the airy contours of the wooden roof. Surrounding views are framed and visitors can experience ever-changing sceneries.


Use of Stones

  The stone landscape represents the ocean in which the ship smoothly floats. The rugged stone has a high content of iron that rusts over time. It was brought from nearby quarries unrefined and in its original state just as the dynamite blasted it off the face of the cliff, where each stone varies in size and shape, and where its sharp edges provide a strong effect of contrasting light and shadow to the surrounding groundscape.

KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden

Experience through Path

  The path guides the visitors through the landscape, garden, and building providing them with as one seamless experience, allowing them to perceive the building in its multiple aspects. The path then gradually leads the visitors into the interior of the vessel-like roof through a small entrance where one finds a water installation created by sculptor Kohei Nawa, spreading in the darkness. The installation represents the immensity of the ocean and visitors can experience meditation while observing the shimmering lights reflected on the quietly rippling water waves. The darkness together with the faint sound of the room curiously sharpens the visitor's vision and auditory senses.

KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden

Accounting Zen

  Each individual will sense the meditative time and space differently. It was not intended to directly express Zen, but visitors retain the memories of their visit and have the opportunity to consider the sensibility and philosophy of Zen. KOHTEI is a structure that exterior, interior, and underneath space reflects the enfolding experience of being in the mountains, creating work that combines both physical and mental experiences. KOHTEI aims to generate creative expressions of inseparably integrated architectural functions: the reality created by the materials and textures, and the experiences they engender. 

KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden
KOHTEI | Shinshoji Zen Museum and Garden



- Temple Pavilion


Fukuyama-city, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.


Completed in 2016


Site Area: 4700m

Foot Print Area: 796 ㎡

GFA: 550 ㎡



(Kohei Nawa, Yuichi Kodai,Yoshitaka Lee)


Kohei Nawa | WOW Inc.

Sound: Marihiko Hara

Cooperation: Niccon and SUPER FACTORY

Photo: Nobutada Omote



Shinsyoji Zen Museum and Gardens

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