surrounded by numerous private houses and middle-class condominiums, the ‘kyotology’ hotel by GENETO provides a comfortable, bright and airy living environment within the dense fabric of kyoto, in japan. the design seeks to generate a space where customers can feel the kyoto atmosphere, with strategic openings that offer unobstructed urban views, while preserving privacy for the guests.

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all images by yasutake kondo



born and raised in kyoto, the GENETO team is well acquainted with the high-density layout of the city. townhouses, sandwiched between other buildings, have no choice but to lean on ventilation or lighting from the facades or limited gardens. the architects wanted to incorporate the concept of the ‘tsuboniwa’ small garden, which is a common external feature developed by locals for their dwellings. offering ventilation and natural illumination, the garden adds beautifully designed stones and plants to the residence, that fill the contemplator with vitality, and also serves as a kind of screen reflecting the four seasons.

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according to ‘the setback regulation from the front road’ facing the north side of the building and ‘the regulations of a cityscape in kyoto’, the volume of the architecture was set from the backside in the form of a staircase pattern. a four-story building was designed for a maximum capacity. but with the volume ratio exceeding the upper limit, it was necessary to reduce it to a certain degree. therefore, giving the excess volume as tsuboniwa for outdoor use, it was possible to maintain the volume at the required limit.

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the tsuboniwa was made in various types and designs for each room from the first to the fourth floor, so that there is a view of the garden from all the bedrooms. on the ground floor, there was a reconstruction of lamps, stones, and trees that were at the same place before, on the second floor and above, tsukiyama (築山, is an artificial mountain in a japanese landscape garden) with the gravel and moss decorations, which are made in the shape of the kyoto mountains. also, luminous tin stones (objects of art), which combine stone and tin, were placed in all gardens. the moss hills combined with tin stones resonate with light, creating a rich and meaningful space. 

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project info:


name: kyotology hotel
client: cosmos more co.,ltd.
basic design / design direction: GENETO architects
design management: cosmos more co.,ltd. osaka branch
construction: LOFTY
furniture: pivoto
garden: soto design, GENETO architects
artwork: yamamoto gokin seisakusho, GENETO architects
location: 672-6 honkawara-cho, higasiyama-ku, kyoto
site area: 295.04 m²
building area: 159.93 m²
total floor area: 485.11 m²
structure: steel structure



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edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom