Kyoto City Landscape Policy 2007 / Contemporary Architecture II

Integration with History


Image 1 – Kyoto Central Telephone Bureaux, Sep 1926 (Source:

The iconic ShinPuKan building was designed originally by Tetsuro Yoshida in 1926. [1] Tetsuro Yoshida was a Japanese architect whose works interchange the style between the East and West. The building was originally a Kyoto Central Telephone Office (now NTT West) which has been redeveloped into a shopping mall in 2001. [1] The retain complex has closed for redevelopment project. The former of the NTT West collaborate with Ace Hotel and aim to provide a intermediate platform for both locals and tourists. Kengo Kuma, as the architect of this project, has converted ShinPuKan into a cultural hub by connecting the environment as the first move for the urban development of Kyoto. [2]


“ Every detail and materials was thought through to connect the building, land, and history together. Through the central courtyard, this red-brick building will converse and create a new harmony with a wooden grid system that reminisces traditional Kyoto” – Kengo Kuma


Image 2 – Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto, Kengo Kuma(Source:

The design respect the cultural identity of Kyoto through materials and courtyard typology. The facade of the historic building situating along the Karasuma Street which will be served as retail on the ground floor while second and third floor will be hotel rooms connecting the new 7-storey high building. Courtyards are formed in between the two buildings, created a sense of communities which reminisces the gardens of the Heian period (794 to 1185).[2] Natural materials are also specifically juxtaposed in order to revise the balance between the old and the new. The existing red brick building designed by Tetsuro Yoshida will be introduced with an external wooden grid system. Fine louvers and meshes are attached on the facade for lights and winds to penetrate into the buildings. The design reflects certain identity of Kyoto and brings in a negotiation of space between the traditional and the contemporary. 

The design has also involved local artists and craftsman. There’s a fusion between arts, architecture, traditional crafts and modern inventions. This brings connection from history and provide possible dimensions of the future development of Kyoto.


Image 3 – Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto, Kengo Kuma (Source:



[1]Japan Property Central, Ace Hotel to Open Hotel In Kyoto’s Historic ShinPuKan Building, 2018,

[2]Architects Newspaper, Ace Hotel taps Kengo Kuma to design its first Japanese outpost, 2018

1 Comment on “Kyoto City Landscape Policy 2007 / Contemporary Architecture II

  1. Hi Amanda, you’ve identified the District Plan as an important factor that influenced the Landscape Plan, and how architects work or negotiate with the Plan in order to be innovative in their design. I think more research and analysis can be supplemented to put forth a more coherent argument to establish this relationship. For instance, are there architectural examples that specifically respond to the regulations set out in the Plan?

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