When you visit Barcelona, you shouldn’t miss the buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi. In Tokyo, you must see the amazing architecture designed by Kengo Kuma who is now recognised as one of the world’s most respected and top trending architects.
With the use of great wooden structures as his signature motif, Kuma’s signature architectural style leaves an indelible impression on those that lay eyes on his work. Dong Hyun Kim, a member of the bell service at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, recommends some of the finest examples of architecture designed by Kengo Kuma that you can visit while staying in Tokyo.
Starbucks Reserve ® Roastery Tokyo
The first Starbucks Reserve ® Roastery in Japan and the fifth in the world is located beside the Nakameguro river which is famous for its rows of beautiful cherry blossom trees. The lightwood exterior stands out in the quiet street which is just a block away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s main streets.
The dynamic 3D layered design across the four-story building uses distinctive Japanese techniques such as Yamato-bari cladding, often used in traditional five-story pagodas, as well as multiple layers of wooden material that create shadows and warmth throughout the building, a stark difference from the more common concrete modern architecture.
Since the Nezu Museum reopened in 2009, the museum has become famous for its fabulous bamboo architecture designed by Kengo Kuma, as well as the wonderful private collections of Japanese and Asian art owned by Japanese industrialist Kaichiro Nezu.
Kengo’s philosophy of utilising shadow brings comfort and warmth to the atmosphere in this building, symbolising the link to Tokyo. Residing in Aoyama at the centre of the city, the building’s natural feel harmonizes with the museum’s beautiful Japanese garden.
The Capitol Hotel Tokyu
As the flagship hotel of the Tokyu Hotels Group, one of the largest hotel groups in Japan, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is located in the heart of the capital city, facing the Prime Minister’s official residence. When the hotel was reborn as The Capitol Hotel Tokyu 10 years ago, Kengo Kuma designed the lobby and exterior using his signature wooden motif.
Kengo has said that “The question is not how you design the building, but how you design the relationship between the outside and the inside”, and this is clear in his architecture of The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. The dynamic lobby design is called “Tokio (To-kyo)” and is inspired by the wooden structure of the roof of a traditional Japanese shrine, which welcomes you warmly as you enter the building to enjoy your stay.