Architect Kengo Kuma will seek to blend old and new Japan.
Ace Hotel Group has partnered with NTT Urban Development Corporation to design and build the Ace Hotel Kyoto, a new cultural hub that will be part of the ShinPuhKan redevelopment.
Designed in part by architect Kengo Kuma, Ace Hotel Kyoto will open in Winter 2019 in an area with a industrial and imperial legacy. The firm says Kuma’s designs will blend new with old, incorporating renovations of the historic building — erected in the mid 1920s as the Kyoto Central Telephone Office — into the new build.
Kuma is known for his work in Japan and abroad, including the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center in Tokyo, the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum and the forthcoming Olympic Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Games. His designs tend to embrace natural materials and light, and create spaces for interaction and comfort.
Connected to Kyoto
“The thought was to create a hotel that is connected to Kyoto and open to the surrounding area,” said Kuma. “To begin with, the proposition was to create a dense garden where communities, as well as the past and the present, are connected to this venerable land with its various gardens, which have existed since the Heian period.
The existing Kyoto central telephone office building was designed by one of the great Japanese modern architects, Tetsuro Yoshida. Through the central courtyard, the red brick building will converse and create a new harmony with a wooden grid system that reminisces traditional Kyoto.
“The integrity of Aneyakoji road and Higashino-toin road was preserved through the delicate use of fine louvers and meshes,” said Kuma. “These louvers and meshes also act as environmental devices, which gently filters light and wind. Furthermore, the concrete was mixed with iron oxide to produce a fine warm color, which cannot be fabricated by paint. Every detail and material was thought through to connect the building, land and history together.”
“It’s been our long-standing dream to put down roots in Japan,” said Brad Wilson, President at Ace Hotel Group. “We feel incredibly humbled and grateful to work with such well-respected and admirable partners as NTT Urban Development Corporation and Kengo Kuma to make our dreams a reality, creating a space that honors the beauty and history of Kyoto while fostering global connection and cultural innovation.”