Wood, stone, and water. Those are the three fundamental elements shaping the design of the Kohtei pavilion, a memorial to workers who have lost their lives at sea, located at Japan's Shinshoji Zen Museum and Gardens.
Designed by the Kyoto-based art and architecture studio Sandwich, the structure’s form was inspired by the shape of a ship floating upon the waves. The wooden pavilion is raised above a bed of locally quarried stone, atop three rows of pillars. The underside of the structure has an undulation mimicking the waves of the ocean.
The entire main volume is covered in roughly 340,000 tiny Japanese cypress shingles laid by a 16th-generation master roofer using a traditional roofing technique that secures the overlapping tiles with bamboo nails.
"The experience of standing underneath such a space enhances the stark materiality of the landscape against the airy contours of the wooden roof," the designers explain.
A small footbridge guides guests to the entrance of the building. Inside is an environmental installation created by Kohei Nawa—an expanse of water 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 designers added. "The darkness together with the faint sound of the room, curiously sharpens the visitor's vision and auditory senses."