Summary of the Kyoto City Landscape Policy 2007 (II.)
Building height control can be said as the most important rule to form a city landscape and environment. Maximum height has been lowered in 30% for historical areas, residential areas in mountain foothills and industrial areas. Formerly there is only 5 height choices, which are 10m, 15m, 20m, 31m and 45m. Currently, 12m and 25m is added to the list while 45m is taken away. Also, segmenting control is imposed base on different areas. While fine-grained regulations are suited for all characteristics of each area, special attention is made to different height with adjacent areas, and considerations for both land use and scenery. In short, according to the data from UNESCO, “maximum heights are gradually lowered towards the foothills of the three mountain region.” By rescaleing all building’s height, the streetscape is once again a stage for kyo-machiya instead of highrises and human scale towns can return to its former livelihood.
Regulations regarding to the design of building are about the expansion of building size and small adjustments to the envelop of the building to match with the surroundings. For example, roof palette must be in “oxidized silver/ copperplates either plain or blue-green / non- copper plates and other”. External wall material must be matte ( with exception to glass and natural materials). Balconies should not protrude from the wall of the building, except places not be seen from public spaces or low-rise building. External wall palette is also retricted to red hues or yellow-red hue with color saturation greater than 6. Gates, fences and hedges should be used to enclose parking space for automobile and bicycles.
For the surrounding scenery and vistaed view, it is divided into three zones: vistaed view, close view and distant view to regulate building’s altitude, shape, design, palettes or external walls. The furthest zone would have restrictions to its palettes of external walls while close up buildings would have more restrictions like its shape, design and most importantly its altitude. This implementation is closely related to the “borrow view” design of the historical edifices.
Advertisement restrictions are very detailed and is related to the above regulations. Firstly, rooftop signs is prohibited for good skyline. Secondly, display height should be 2/3 of buiding or by regional standards, whichever is the lowest. Thirdly, signs are prohibited to protrude beyond road thresholds in order to create good roadscape. Lastly, signs should not block view from openings and walls, as it is counted as a detraction from building design.
Historical street regulation focuses on preserving the traditional kyo-machiya houses and other historical buildings, including outer repair and improvement on structure. The authority set up different improvement districts for groups of historical buildings, also for single unit.
All in all, preserving Kyoto’s landscape is aimed to enhance Kyoto’s city character and emphasizes its importance to Japan. It can bring positive effect to the local industry, tourist industry and knowledge exchange between the old and new generations.
Reference: Kyoto City Landscape Policy – Unesco. Unesco, n.d. Web. <http://whc.unesco.org/>.