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Jonathan Stollenmeyer


Jonathan Stollenmeyer

From 2003-2004 Jonathan worked in 2 separate architectural offices through a cooperative study program.  Graduating the University of Cincinnati DAAP architecture program in 2005, he immediately traveled to Japan to experience first hand some of the buildings that had moved him in his study at university.  With a strong belief that first hand experience is the most important thing to understanding space he began his architectural career by trying to find an apprenticeship in woodworking in the United States.  He found himself working at Traditional Boatworks in New Hampshire, learning a craft and building from start to finish a traditional Norwegian Snekke.  This truly inspired him to want to understand craft.  With the collapse of the economy in the US and the world abroad, he took some time to travel again and experience some of the great architects work in Mexico (Luis Barragan) and Switzerland (Peter Zumthor) among others.  Coming back to the states he worked freelance in architecture doing large-scale apartments/condominiums in downtown Cincinnati, and wrote a short book about his travels for design friends.  In 2007 he moved to a Zen monastery in the woods of Kentucky.  For more than a year he spent his days in zazen meditation and working for that community.  In late 2008 he left the monastery to travel and see architecture again, this time going to Scandinavia followed by renting space in Argentina for several months.  Working odd jobs after returning back to the states he realized that he wanted to be working with his hands and not in an architectural office. In the fall of 2009 he made his way back to Japan to take a course in Japanese and pursue the dream of working with Japanese carpenters in their trade.  Through the mentorship and introduction of his tea-ceremony teacher he began work with Nakamura Sotoji Komuten in the fall of the following year.  This company of carpenters is doing projects within Japan and abroad in the Sukiya (teahouse) style.  In 2013, despite his love for the work that Nakamura is doing, he got the opportunity to see Kohei Yamamoto’s work in Okayama Prefecture and the building’s Ishibatate carpentry style astounded him (see Structure).  At the end of his contract with Nakamura he received approval from the firm to leave and study elsewhere.  In November of 2013 he began work at Somacousha learning the Ishibatate framing style under the tutelage of Mr. Yamamoto.