Garden Terrace Nagasaki Hotel & Resort

Architype Dialogue presents

Kengo Kuma

What was the most difficult issue about working within this building type or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new thought in your project?

When you work on a hotel, the most challenging thing is to give a strong character to the building while keeping the high quality of life for the guests. In this hotel we realized that its architectural volume was much bigger than we had imagined, so we used wood for exterior, which helped mitigate this impact. Since then we have applied this method to other projects as well.
Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?

It is unusual that architect fully engages in the designing of hotels bigger than a certain scale. That is why many of the hotel design are boring. With Nagasaki, we were involved in the process of the project from the very beginning, which enabled us to propose a new type of design for a hotel. I see that the role of architects for hotel is diminishing and they end up as facade designer. This fact makes one’s architectural experience in the world rather poor.
How is your building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new thought and solutions?

As society wants more natural materials in architecture than ever before, I came to be able to use more of these now. Also, the improvement of technology for natural materials – like techniques for fireproofing and undecaying of wood have advanced greatly – all these have contributed to my architecture.
In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?

Post-war university education has placed too much emphasis on steel and concrete architecture and neglected to teach how to use wood. From Nagasaki project, I could show a possibility that wood could be used in big-scale architecture, and I think it has inspired academia of architecture, too.


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