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Hinoba-An in Negros Island by Fumihiko Sano Studio


Address: Negros Island, Philippines
Program: tea room
Completion: 01/2017

Design firm: Fumihiko Sano Studio
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With a background as a carpenter building tea-ceremony houses (Sukiya style design) and Japanese style restaurants, Fumihiko Sano’s work has strived to implement traditional Japanese design as a response to the disappearance of traditional Japanese culture in modern society.

In 2016, Sano was designated as a cultural exchange Ambassador from the Agency for Cultural Affairs to be sent abroad for the agency’s cultural exchange program. As a concept, our firm began to design spaces for holding tea-ceremonies which would be created by local people, with local materials and cultural inspirations.

After arriving in Negros Island, Philippines, and visiting the site, a suitable location for a tea room was selected. A visit to the local town allowed for further research into available materials, construction details, and design inspirations. Palmwood seemed to be a popular building material in this area as evident by the many palm trees which were processed in nearby lumber shops. Once palm wood was chosen as the main structural element, the design of the location to take advantage of the viewpoints of the site.

Considering the site’s frequent heavy rain and flood climate, elevated floor columns were placed on top of the foundation structure to lift the floor one meter from the ground. I intentionally mixed

The size of the building and the structure of the roof was intentionally altered to match the proportions of Jo-an, a famous tea room that has been designated as a national treasure in Japan.

Electric tools are not commonly used in the area, thus details for construction methods involving the use of nails and wooden frames were developed. Due to the lack of specific dimensions of wood material, palm trees were cut by the desired length but working with the irregular material was very difficult as the chainsaw was not sharp enough to cleanly cut through the entire tree.

Bamboo was knitted together to create a Nipa wall, while the roofing was made from palm leaves. The use of local materials as a surface material was essential in expressing the charm of the local material.

Built using site-specific materials to display the local identity while incorporating Japanese culture, Hinoba-An is a one-of-a-kind tea room.