this architecture project in kyoto aims to blend the blue bottle coffee brand and america’s west coast culture with the machiya, a traditional-style townhouse in japan. the cafe is located on the way to the nanzenji temple in kyoto, a charming area of the city. the redesign was conceived by schemata architects who sought to ‘create equal relationships throughout the space.’ this theme is apparent from a visitor’s first steps inside the restoration.

blue bottle kyoto
all images by takumi ota



schemata architects placed great importance on the flooring of this project. the existing floor — raised 50 centimeters above the ground and conforming to a characteristic style of traditional japanese architecture — was demolished to make a new floor level with the ground. a pebbled ground floor was installed in its place — one that employs the same type of pebbles as terrazzo. the ground behind the cafe counter had to be equal to that of the customer area, in order to maintain the same eye level and establish a comfortable rapport between client and staff.

blue bottle kyoto



elevated in some areas, the flooring forms counters and benches that fully integrate into the space. the building is characterized by minimalism. the designers stripped all unnecessary elements from the structure, thus exposing the original roof structure and clay walls. now, one can see traces of the 100-year old history throughout the large, medium and small spaces of this ancient traditional tea house. the project integrates both japanese and american cultures in a charming cafe space for a blend that is powerful — like the coffee. 

blue bottle kyoto

blue bottle kyoto

blue bottle kyoto

blue bottle kyoto



project info:


title: blue bottle coffee kyoto cafe
architects: jo nagasaka / schemata architects
project team: yui matsushita
address 64 kusakawacho nanzenji sakyo-ku kyoto japan
usage: cafe, office
construction: tank, atelier loöwe inc.
floors2 stories
site area: 452.98 sqm
merchandise building
total floor area: 128.82 sqm
cafe building
total floor area: 195.5 sqm
completion: 3/2018
open: 3/2018
photo: takumi ota

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