The two guest houses both feature timber structures in very different iterations. Timber is very prevalent in the heavily forested country, and is an excellent option for modestly budgeted projects.
SUI hostel is located in the bustling cultural capital of Japan; Kyoto. The hotel takes inspiration from the iconic Japanese capsule hotel typology. Instead of creating a mass of modular capsules for visitors to retreat to, the pods are arranged more randomly, in order to allow semi public nooks to form between the pods. The wooden boxes become like city buildings, with a main street running down the centre, and smaller alleyways weaving throughout.
The SUI guesthouse is located in Nishijin, Kyoto's famed weaving district which is in the northwest part of central Kyoto and one of the most traditional areas of the city.
The client manages a cultural centre next to the site, and works as diving instructor. The guesthouse is used for tourists and guests of the centre who travel from afar.
The Koyasan Guest House is located on Mount Koya, the famed spiritual village known as the birthplace of Zen Buddhism founded 1200 years ago. The whole town has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The guesthouse was designed to be open and social like the KUI guesthouse, with a strong building envelope enclosing a more open plan interior. Simple wooden boxes contain sleeping pods which are aligned much more orderly than KUI, along a single hall. At the end of a hall is an open plan social lounge area for guests.
The Koyasan Guest House uses a typically western structural system of thin pine studs to create a network or vertical members. Japanese construction typically users less, larger members, but Alphaville chose to use thin framing in order to use the structural system as a perforated screening system as well.
The thin members each take a small amount of load, and allow the modular pods to be inserted between studs. It also allows the space to be more open and easy to clean, with few of the studs being lined.
Like Koyasan guesthouse, the SUI guesthouse is a ‘village’ of boxes within a larger envelope. Pine posts form the main structural members, with structural plywood forming the walls of the variety of sleeping boxes. Handrails, stairs and joinery are all made from timber.
SUI guesthouse wears its timber elements very proud, leaving all the wood grain exposed. Stained plywood and raw pine posts blend with hardwood railings. The timber finishes juxtapose beautifully with the white plaster walls of the building envelope. The narrow walkways that weave between the wooden boxes form an elaborate network of passages and create a cosy atmosphere in the accommodation.
Koyasan guesthouse features a much brighter and singular interior palette. The timber studs have all been painted white, and resemble white birch trees in a forest. The white and bright interior juxtaposes with the dark metal exterior, which is aesthetically industrial. The orderly nature of the sleeping pods creates a calming atmosphere.