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
The Ace Hotel Group has announced it will open its first property in Japan, with architect Kengo Kuma commissioned to design a “monument to the beauty and unique legacy of Kyoto”, transforming the city’s 92-year-old former Central Telephone Office.
The company has partnered with the Japanese NTT Urban Development Corporation to open the Ace Hotel Kyoto in winter 2019. Located on the former grounds of the imperial palace, the project will form part of a new cultural hub being developed for the ShinPuhKan shopping district close to the Museum of Kyoto.
In order to create “a destination for culturally curious travellers and Kyoto residents alike,” Kuma will blend the old and new with his design, incorporating renovations of the 1920s telephone building into the new build.
“The thought is to create a hotel that is connected to Kyoto and open to the surrounding area,” said the architect. “To begin with, the proposition was to create a dense garden where communities, as well as the past and the present, are connected to this venerable land with its various gardens, which have existed since the Heian period.
“The existing Kyoto central telephone office building was designed by one of the great Japanese modern architects Tetsuro Yoshida. Through the central courtyard, this red brick building will converse and create a new harmony with a wooden grid system that reminisces traditional Kyoto.
“Every detail and material was thought through to connect the building, land and history together. Ace Hotel is changing the definition of the hotel by connecting the surrounding area with the hotel, and the community with the guests. This is gently changing the air of the world.”
Brad Wilson, president of Ace Hotel Group, said: “It’s been our long-standing dream to put down roots in Japan. We feel incredibly humbled and grateful to work with such well-respected and admirable partners to make our dreams a reality, creating a space that honors the beauty and history of Kyoto while fostering global connection and cultural innovation.”
The first Ace Hotel opened in 1999 in Seattle, and the group now has eight properties across the US and one in London.