Kengo Kuma together with structural engineer Akira Suzuki has completed a small hotel in Gunma Prefecture’s famous Kasatsu Onsen hot springs adding architectural elements such as small stones positioned on the exterior walls of the ryokan.
The development is named Kusatsu Kimuraya, a single-room facility known as “ryokan” which means a traditional Japanese inn or small hotel whose floors are covered with tatami.
The two-story facility features curved walls with dark skin and at the corner, a small portion of the façade is designed with glass to allow light to enter in.
The designers have added a small outer staircase that leads guests to the upper floor where a cozy sleeping room takes place.
Located in the famous Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, the key material of the building is Asama stone used on the façade of the building and creates a three-dimensional landscape.
According to the studio, Asama stone is found in hot springs and the team connected the building and landscape with a three-dimensional landscape by using it on the exterior walls.
On the first floor, there is a restaurant that directly faces the famous hot spring fields.
In order to connect the interior with the local surroundings, the studio applies curve geometries that resonate with the soft movement of steam rising from the hot springs and govern how we arranged the use of local materials.
The designers use local materials such as Asama stone terrazzo and Japanese washi paper mixed with crushed local stones.
Tiles, which are typically used for the floor of the hot spring fields, are used in the wet areas.
“By incorporating material and geometrical elements of Yubatake hot springs throughout the building, we condensed the materiality of the historic town of Kusatsu in this small building,” said Kengo Kuma and Associates.
Project: Kusatsu Kimuraya
Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates
Design Team: Minoru Yokoo, Yutaro Ota, Nanako Adachi, Shoki An, Yoo Shiho, and Junlin Chen
Structural Engineer: Akira Suzuki
Photographers: Kawasumi-Kobayashi Kenji Photograph Office
Drawings: Kengo Kuma and Associates