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Kumano Shindo HQ Update: Sneak Peek at Our HQ's Scale Model

Photo: Meeting on Friday February 3, 2023, in Dr. Kozue Sano’s Housing Planning Laboratory with upcoming fourth-year undergraduate students (Left to Right: Masaharu Tada-sensei, Kazuya Ueno, Chihiro Akao, Adam Lobel, Seisho Murakami, Kozue Sano-sensei)

On February 3, 2023, our representative director, Adam Lobel, met with Masaharu Tada, principal architect of td-Atelier, to discuss the our headquarters' renovation. The meeting took place at Kinki University's Department of Architecture, where several students in Dr. Kozue Sano’s Housing Planning Laboratory, who study with Tada-sensei twice a week, also participated.

During the meeting, Adam and Tada-sensei discussed various aspects of the project, including the design, construction schedule, and budget constraints. They also addressed any concerns that could impact the project's progress.

HQ Scale Model: What to Expect from Our New HQ

One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of our HQ's scale model. Using the scale model, Tada-sensei explained his team's vision for the renovated akiya ("unoccupied house"), as well as the unique features and furnishings that will be added to the design.

The design features two main elements. The older section (left) built around 1920, is called “Room of Sky,” and will feature a transparent section in the roof to allow sunlight. The “Room of Earth,” an addition built around 1959, will feature a floor construction that brings visitors physically close to the earth, and will be where many seminars on regenerative agriculture and nature-based solutions will take place. The design preserves the dimensions and feel of the 100-year-old home, with the addition of an indoor toilet and shower to ensure visitors, volunteers, and students are more comfortable during their stay.

Photo: The left side of the model depicts the older structure (“Room of Sky”), and the right side depicts the extension (“Room of Earth”) built in the late 1950’s. This is the view from the ocean, with the house’s orientation as west-south-west (left) to east-north-east (right).

The scale model was a valuable tool for the Kumano Shindo team as it allowed us to spot any potential issues or areas that needed further attention. Tada-sensei also presented other important documents such as blueprints and a breakdown of costs for the renovation.

“It was an honor to visit Dr. Sano’s laboratory for the first time, and meet with her, her students and Tada-sensei to discuss this meaningful project.

After visiting Kumano for two years and looking for a way forward, last October Tada-sensei and I visited the project site together and discussed what a collaboration might look like. This project team is the culmination of many years working with local communities in Kumano: Tada-sensei brings years’ of experience and award-winning community- and student driven-projects in Kumano, and Professor Sano brings years’ of visionary design work and student-first experiential learning. We all met for the first time at the Kumano Summit last November, and I am honored to move this project forward under their direction as we transform Kumano Shindo’s HQ into a suiten, or gathering point, in the spirit of the term’s originator and and naturalist Kumagusu Ninakata. Kumagasu was a Kii Peninsula native, and espoused suiten as the point where necessity and coincidence intersect. We hope to achieve these goals as we bring this project to life!”

Tada-sensei visited our headquarters in November 2022 to take measurements for the renovation, and again in December 2022 with Shingū-based construction firm owner Nonaka Akinobu to review the project requirements. The two previously worked together in building the award-winning Oishi Park (“Delicious Park)” in Shingū, Wakayama Prefecture, which was featured in the following domestic and international press: mooool (Chinese and English) | ArchDaily (English) | ArchDaily (Chinese) | ArchDaily (Portuguese) | architecturephoto (Japanese) | YouTube This project is the pillar of our upcoming crowdfunding campaign to build a leading low-carbon, nature-based, and creative expression laboratory in the heart of Kumano. Be on the lookup soon on how you can join our mission and support the stage in co-creating our regenerative innovation hub!


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