Triangular Tea House, Japan

Triangular Tea House, Japan

Sanrakutei: Tea House and Study

Triangular Tea house at the Northern Cultural Museum in Niigata City, is the only one of its kind in Japan. Completed in 1891 after years of  construction, it reminds us of the folly of its wealthy owners and the whimsical ideation of its creator.

Constructed in the traditional style only of wood and handmade ropes, with no metal to corrupt the integrity of the structure. Inside, the angular design required the tatami maker to spend painstaking weeks measuring the mats to fit perfectly into the floor.

“Sanraku means “Three Pleasures” and the tea house takes its name from the “Three Pleasures of a Gentleman” said by Mencius, a Chinese philosopher. The tea house, built to the design of the sixth head of the household when he was 21 years old, was completed in 1891. Eleven tsubo or about 36.3 ㎡in area, it is a study in the tea house arbor style, built in the shape of an equilateral triangle. It includes a small adjacent room for washing tea ceremony utensils and is also used to perform the tea ceremony. The sixth Bunkichi practiced meditation beside the single round window.”

In Feng Shui we are advised against such shapes in buildings and design because sha qi – negative energy – is created by the pointed corners. In the plan below you can see how the tea house is pointed towards what is likely the private bedrooms of the Ito family:

A jolt of reality as we contemplate that as designers, we are at the whim of the client whose vision we bring to life.

Concurrently, we are given the honour of advising the client and in doing so, we are in the position to be ‘treasuring the unrepeatable nature of a moment.’

“Ichi-go – ichi-e’ – one chance, one meeting

I will bring my next Feng Shui Tour group to Japan (and China); when we will visit this magnificent museum and grounds.

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