Amami Oshima, also known as Amami, is the largest island in the Amami archipelago nestled between Kyūshū and Okinawa. The Amami is an island renowned for its natural beauty, an oasis rich in lush flora, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters that deemed it a Natural Heritage Site in July 2021. It is also the birthplace of Yasuhiro Yamashita, the visionary who established Atelier TEKUTO in 1991 and who now heads up the architecture firm as President and Representative Director.
After the tragic Hanshin Awaji earthquake in 1995, many villages on the island have been placed in precarious straits with traditional houses being abandoned, land being bought up cheaply, and local communities being heavily affected by over-tourism. This shifted Yamashita’s focus on the social aspects of architecture as he strived to tackle the issue by conducting voluntary work in hopes of introducing the concept of passing on traditional architecture and village culture to the next generation.
To this end, he has renovated many vacant houses and opened lodging facilities, restaurants, a senior citizens facility, a local market, and several galleries with its innovative and sustainable design solutions, all while providing job opportunities for over 70 people. The company focuses on sustaining the village culture of the Amami Islands, which goes back as far as the 7th century and is one of the most diverse in the world.
To sustain his community centric endeavours on the island, the firm monetizes through its luxury resort built in the northern part of the island. DenPaku The Beachfront MIJORA opened in July 2019 is a haven consisting of 13 sleek and contemporary stand-alone villas designed to blend seamlessly with the island’s natural surroundings. Each room boasts the use of a single pane of glass to create an expansive opening that overlooks the sea, affording guests with panoramic sea views from the comfort of their own private space. Every room also harbours a wooden deck that leads directly down to the pristine sandy beach which is a mere seconds away.
In April 2021, 2 Waters was added adjacent to the DenPaku to provide a dedicated reception area for The Beachfront MIJORA, a gastronomic restaurant, and an infinity pool. The restaurant and bar feature expansive picturesque windows with spectacular views of Akakina Bay. Guests can enjoy creative cuisine made using fresh local ingredients and drinks at the long bar counter overlooking the ocean. There’s also a healthy breakfast available showcasing local fruit and vegetables.
These two projects clearly illustrate Atelier TEKUTO’s dedication to creating beautiful design in pursuit of client satisfaction while benefiting the local community. The company firmly believes that it is essential to consider the area’s social structure when building developments. It always works in close collaboration with the community, keeping the people’s best interest at the heart of every project.
These are all the reasons why the panel of expert judges at Luxury Lifestyle Awards has chosen Atelier TEKUTO as the winner of a prestigious award in the category of Best Luxury Resort Architecture in Japan 2022 for 2 Waters and DenPaku Hotels. These projects are an accurate depiction of how stylish architecture can be achieved in tandem with building healthy communities and developing new relationships with visitors for tourism.
“We are delighted to have been chosen by the specialist judges at Luxury Lifestyle Awards as a winner for our two exceptional resort developments. Both play an important role in our vision for the future that focuses on sustaining village culture while building new relationships with visitors for tourism. Our commitment to our clients, the environment, and society as a whole is clearly illustrated through our work, and it is gratifying to have our endeavors recognized in this way,” commented Yamashita.