Throughout the long history,
Kyoto has developed its tradition and culture
by refining the wisdom of the ancestors.
The Shimpukan reopened its doors with a fresh look
to pass down such innovativeness in tradition, and to bring a breath of fresh air into the town.
With great diversity and openness,
the premises become a hub
that brings life and new culture to the community,
letting people bond beyond existing borders.
Just like widening the friendship circle
built upon the local history and tradition,
we would like to weave new stories from here, the Shimpukan.
In 1926 when Kyoto was on its way shifting from ancient to modern city, construction of the “former Kyoto Central Telephone Office”, a predecessor of “Shinpuhkan”, was completed based on a design drawn by Tetsuro Yoshida, an architect of the Ministry of Communications back then. Called as a pioneer of modern modernism, he is well known also for his works such as “Tokyo Central Post Office” (current KITTE) and “Osaka Central Post Office”. The “former Kyoto Central Telephone Office”, a representative work of Yoshida with such background was subsequently designated as the first registered cultural property among others by Kyoto City in 1983 in recognition of its historical significance. The building has succeeded the precious structure at the time of its construction up to this day and age.
Then, in 2001, it was opened as a commercial establishment after extension work designed by Richard Rodgers, a prominent architect in the U.K., keeping the appearance of the former Telephone Office intact on condition of redevelopment in the future. With a desire to bring a new breeze into Kyoto, the facility was named as “Shinpuhkan”. Whole of the facility was formed based on a quadrilateral arrangement by surrounding the courtyard like a patio as seen in Europe. On a round stage disposed at the courtyard, public recording and live events had been organized by the local FM station since its opening, while creating a flow of new people and being loved by the local residents.
In 2016, however, it was closed temporarily for a full-fledged redevelopment. With its succeeded concept of fusion of “tradition” and “innovation” as a commercial establishment, the redevelopment was initiated aiming at creating a spot as a symbol of Kyoto and landmark of the town as well. From a telephone office into a commercial facility and then from a hotel, stores and a theater into complex facility. At last, a new history of the long-awaited “Shinpuhkan” is opened in 2020.
“I wanted to create facilities connected to a place called Kyoto and opened to the region. At first, I tried to create a dense garden connecting the region to the facilities as well as the present to the past at a land with an ancient and honorable origin where various garden had been constructed since Heian Period. By an encounter of timberwork succeeding Japanese tradition in Kyoto and bricks of the “former Kyoto Central Telephone Office” designed by Tetsuro Yoshida, a great master of Japanese modern architecture, at this courtyard, the woods and bricks may initiate new conversations. Fine mesh was adopted to really Kyoto-like Aneyakoji-tori and Higashinotoin-dori streets side in response to their delicateness. The louver and mesh also work as an environmental instrument to gently filtrate lights and winds. In addition, I tried to figure out a way of coloring to provide warmth by mixing iron oxide with concrete without relying on painting. Thus, the building, land and history was connected as one by sticking with every detail and material. With an attempt to change the existing definition of hotel by connecting the region with the hotel as well as the community with guests, I believe “Ace Hotel” is going to change atmosphere of cities across the world into soft ones. I do hope the philosophy and architecture may resonate with each other.”
Born in 1954. Established Kengo Kuma and Associates in 1990. Serve as a professor of Tokyo University since 2009.
Many projects have been in progress in the country and overseas as well. Involved also in the design of the new National Stadium.
His main written works include “People’s residence” (Shincho Shinnsho), “Point/Line/Plane” (Iwanami Shoten), “Natural architecture” and “Small architecture” (Iwanami Shinnsho) in addition to other various works.
Centering on a courtyard that utilizes the L-shaped existing building, three entrances with different expression each were installed on each of the three sides facing with a different street, respectively, and all of them have been configured to be led to the courtyard through elongated passages like an alley. Passages in the building and a lobby space of the hotel have been finished aiming at providing a human scale urban space with a full of variety by adopting an echelon structure for walls. Such philosophy of the facility and “Ace Hotel” that incorporates regional cultures has been embodied by adopting the scale of machiya and alleys that characterize streets in Kyoto to lead a natural flow of visitors into the premises.
Large eaves of copper sulfide plate and louvers in copper color of which angle varies connect to the streets of humane scale in Kyoto and the screen of industrial crimped wire cloth that covers its south and east faces is in coordination with existing industrial buildings. The timberwork framework that transverses with a 3500mm grid in the building having a large cross section (250×500) provides the space with breadth and depth by partially extending to outside.
Natural landscape is inserted into center of the city. It has been configured to be able to feel rich nature over the whole architecture by installing four gardens with different characteristics, i.e., courtyard, unfloored walkway (passage), light court (open ceiling) and rooftop garden. In addition, I tried to succeed a history of this place by reproducing a waterfall rock arrangement on the rooftop garden, which is a precious remain in Muromachi Period.
A sculpture created by randomly piling up 3D-models flipped vertically which were made in a stepwise fashion by 3D-modeling of a movement of dripping that dropped on the ground to spread. With a polyhedral structure of the whole body, it symbolizes eternity of survival ability and light comes and goes from one face to another in accordance with a change of natural sunlight.
Planning: The Chain Museum
Cooperation: SCAI THE BATHHOUSE/Sandwich Inc.
Born in 1975. A sculptor and a professor of Kyoto University of Arts. Launched a platform “Sandwich” for creation activity in Kyoto in 2009.
Based on his unique concept of “PixCell”, he has expanded new possibility of sculpture by fully utilizing various materials and technologies as well.