This hotel in Beppu, Japan, features hot springs, views of the city and the sea, ‘site-specific’ architecture and artworks. The public space is opened and used as a new exchange base for the community. It is designed for people who desire new culture connecting to the local history, culture and climate.
Image: Living room of residential suite/ Nerhol’s artwork is on the wall
We can have the same comfort anywhere in globalized world. Alternatively, the local culture is "homogenized" and the accommodation industry is stereotyped. We tried to realize the hotel as a new local public space that would change the format. We made holes in the flocking walls and created complex spatial connections. The space has a continuous and ambiguous relevance between the inside and the outside. Therefore, the place has the property of not limiting the function. It also gained placeness like the alley space of the old downtown of Beppu, and created the enjoyment of walking around.
In order to operate a hotel business that responds to globalization, materials are often brought from all over the world based on "economic rationality". At this time, our solution is different. We aimed to open up a new phase of culture by connecting to the local culture and history. It makes people aware that their lives and spaces are homogenized, and creates a new characteristic local culture. It is brought by creating the space that you cannot experience without going there. The space is created by using materials that is produced and distributed as near as possible.
In the present world while benefiting from globalization, various properties and opportunities are homogenized. By that, not only businesses but spaces are being homogenized. While people live in different places that have indigenous climate, history, and culture, the diversity of their lives is weakening.
Even if the lifestyle changes, we should not lose the culture that gives us dignity of living there. This project is a desire for such a new local culture of the day. We practiced it in the public architecture of hotels.
The structure of this hotel is made of concrete. We devised a way to make the concrete structure. Making reinforced concrete, iron, aggregate, and cement are essential elements, and another important material is formwork, which is removed after completion. Normally, formwork are plywood, which is made of logwood from tropical rainforests, and they are global distribution materials. In this project, we have developed a new formwork. They are made of solid cedar wood from Oita prefecture. The surface of the cedar wood was roughly cut with sawed state. Since we designed gaps between the cedar woods, bumps appeared randomly on the surface of the concrete. The formwork was tough enough so it could be used 3 or 4 times. The repeating lines and texture created by the formwork generate rhythm that runs through the whole space of this architecture. People come to rest their minds and bodies in this hot spring area. For such a people, we designed the concrete feel like rough mass of earth and made it the main character of the space, without luxurious decoration.