Preservation of the Kyoto Grids


In terms of preserving the grids in a city scale, the preservation scheme launched roughly around 1930. There was no real practice until the legislation of the Ancient Capitals Preservation Law in 1965. It briefly outlined zonings for further development. For instance, the pink zone represented the ‘beautiful cityscape’ whereas areas in pale yellow represented the ‘artificial cityscape’. These zones were merely classified by color, which implied there was no strict boundaries among them. Later on, height regulations were added in 1973. Depicted in the second map, the heritage area (Niji Castle) had implemented a height restriction of 15m. Any constructions built above this level would require permission of the city council.


In terms of preserving the grids in a street scale, the New Landscape act was refined in 2007 where the council set strict guidelines for color, height and architectural features for constructions or renovations for different zones. For example, the heritage area (Nijo Castle) mentioned was located in the ‘old streetscape zone’, which was guided by strict regulations and constructions within the area could only adopt a traditional, brownish color tone. Even the McDonalds nearby had an earthy tone. Noted in the same paper, it addressed the importance of the Machiya. The city council’s approach was to document all the stereotypes of these vernacular constructions. So, future constructions should follow this paradigm in order to reanimate the atmosphere as an ancient city.


With reference to the Kyoto city council’s development proposal, the heart of the city would likely be reanimated by preserving the traditional grids and streetscape with the help of strict building codes. Yet, to treat the grids as distinctive communities by controlling the balance of programmes within, so that individual grids would be enhanced in terms of quality and identity.


京 みやこ の景観ガイドライン ■建築物の高さ編


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