With the concept of Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama “a simple inn that enhances the experience of travel”, we aimed to create a hotel that provides guests with a cup of tea (their own preference) for their journey and time. The hotel is located right on the border between the old town where many tourists visit and the city center.
The building, which was originally a bank, has been renovated as a hotel specializing in overnight stays for groups, with a lounge open to guests and the local community on the first floor, and guest rooms on the upper floors, using local resources for the interior and exterior. As a tourist destination surrounded by rich forests, we hope that the hotel will become not only a hotel but also a base for creating values of “living with the forest” and a new “sight” of local culture that will mature over the years.
From Culture-Consuming Tourism to Culture-Producing Tourism | Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama
This project is a small hotel located in Hida Takayama, a flourishing tourist destination that attracts about 4 million visitors a year and is home to the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go and old streets. Here, while coexisting with conventional tourism that traces historical facts, we pursued the idea of the hotel as a base for generating a culture that nurtures the future, making Hida Takayama a starting point for living regional values that will continue into the next 100 years of culture.
How do we create regionalism in a sustainable way after modernization? | Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama
About 100 years have passed since the establishment of modernist architecture. Today, with the benefits of modernization, we are able to enjoy services and lifestyles that are as close to homogenous as possible, regardless of whether we live in a city or a rural area. However, buildings and spaces made of industrialized materials are erasing the uniqueness of each region.
When we think about the next 100 years, we would like to derive the uniqueness of the city in a sustainable way, after accepting modernization, so that the way we live now and interact with the environment itself can be passed on with value as a legacy to the future.
Micro-Vanacular” to Create Indigenousness | Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama
Thinking about what architecture can do to reconstruct the indigenousness of regions that have been homogenized by modernism for the next generation, I began by reconstructing the smallest units that make up these regions with things that already exist within a short distance.
We called the subdivision of the indigenous vernacular to a scale that can be realized in the shortest distance “micro vernacular,” and aimed to create a new form of architecture that can be successfully incorporated into the larger framework of social systems, including the economy and law, and constructed from within the environment and social cycles. The architectural act is to “make the most of what is there,” and by connecting it to the culture of living with the abundance of forests, we have incorporated circulation into the space in the shortest possible distance.
Takayama City is about 90% forest | Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama
Even in Hida Takayama, which is overwhelmingly rich in forest resources, it is undeniable that most of the trees are conifers such as cedar that have been planted on a large scale. In order to nurture this vast forest as a resource for the next generation, we must find a way to reduce the number of cedar trees that have been planted under unsustainable plans.
We believe that it is the mission and value of the Hida region, which has the highest percentage of forests in Japan, to promote the use of forest thinning, not only to maintain and nurture the forest, but also to industrialize it and communicate it, and to transform it into a healthy forest from a long-term perspective.
The Rationality of a Degrowth Society: “Making the Most of What We Have”
By re-evaluating the values listed below as the rationality of a de-growth society: “micro vernacular”, we have reconstructed them as a space with regional specificity.
“Make the most of what you have.” | Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama
In the Hida region, which is rich in forest resources, we proposed the possibility of finding new value from what is already around us.
Based on the idea of “finding new value from what is already around us in the Hida region,” we proposed the possibility of utilizing the trees in the region in an appropriate manner from four different angles.
1. Utilization of thinned wood from cedar trees
-Cedar thinnings from short, small-diameter trees are used for architectural purposes.
The thinned wood is cut to about 2 meters for easy transportation due to the thinning work on steep slopes. For this reason, cedar thinning is unsuitable as a building material, but we are attempting to turn short, small-diameter cedar thinnings into a building material by applying the “log construction method” and adopting the “laminated panel construction method,” which integrates small-diameter lumber with long screws. By laminating and connecting small, unstable cedar lumber with varying strength, we were able to increase the overall redundancy of the structure while making it larger, and we were able to use it for furniture and fittings. In addition, by adjusting the intervals between the joints of each piece of wood and creating a cavity, we were able to create a space with depth and a gap for the changing light to enter. In addition, since the construction method does not require any special skills, many people are able to participate in the process from thinning to construction.
2. Hardwood thinned wood
-How to convert the value of thinned wood into value, if necessary.
Lighting that brings out the best in trees | Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama
Each of the lights is made of a different species of tree and is designed to take advantage of the shape of the trunk itself and the texture of the bark, while furniture craftsmen cut grooves and embedded LEDs to create the lighting.
A dining table started from a tree cutting
A dining table started with a tree cutting, using a magnolia tree that the members collected when they accompanied a tree thinning project.
3. Use of scrap wood
Coffee table made from cedar scrap | Atsushi Nakamura, Kraft Architects – Hotel Takayama
From a single log, only about 25% of the wood is used for furniture and building materials, and the rest is used as fuel for drying the wood. The rest is used as fuel for drying the wood. The coffee table made of bundled scrap wood in the shape of a cylinder was made by bundling each unit in a workshop.
Repairing and Reviving Used Furniture for Long-Term Use
Four of the eight dining chairs have been repaired and reclaimed from used “McKinley” chairs that were once sold by Hidasangyo Industries. They have been repainted with persimmon tannin from Yamagata City, Gifu Prefecture, and the color changes over time can be enjoyed.
Takayama City Population of 85,848 people
Number of tourists per year 4,733,000 people
Takayama City Area 2,178 km²≒Tokyo Area 2,194 km²
Takayama City Forest area ratio 92%2m cedar thinned wood used 1000 bottles