shishi-iwa house, a ten room boutique resort designed by pritzker prize-winning japanese architect shigeru ban, opens in karuizawa, japan. the restorative retreat is characterized by the integration of architecture within its natural surrounding, and reinforces the visitor’s connection with nature. the project was developed by HDHP GK, a social enterprise sponsored by HDH capital management. shishi-iwa house embraces the notion of social hospitality, aiming to offer a place to reflect and restore energy. the distinctive architecture of the two-story retreat is crafted in a smooth, curvilinear form with an undulating roof that flows with the movement of the forest.

shigeru ban shishi-iwa house
all images by hiroyuki hirai



to conserve as many existing trees as possible, shigeru ban developed a building approach which respects the forest while carefully curating views from the guest rooms. the architect elaborates: ‘for this project, I was interested in developing a distinct design language befitting to its beautiful location. everything from the construction to the furniture and interior detailing was carefully planned and considered to achieve a bespoke atmosphere. blending the interior and exterior spaces, we created unique openings in the guest rooms and social areas to allow best views of the garden and encourage outdoor access.

shigeru ban shishi-iwa house
shared spaces integrate terraces overlooking the forest



encouraging both private and social programs, the property is characterized by a flow of unique, humanistic spaces. each guestroom is a meditative retreat in itself. guestrooms on the lower floor open toward a private garden, offering individual outdoor access while upper floor rooms incorporate a private balcony terrace. widely known for his use of cardboard, shigeru ban integrates timber and paper tube elements into the bedroom and public interiors, introducing a unique atmosphere. together with his own designs, shigeru ban has selected furniture by alvar aalto, one of the most widely known and accomplished architects.

shigeru ban shishi-iwa house
library and reception room

shigeru ban shishi-iwa house
view from guest room balcony

shigeru ban shishi-iwa house
timber exterior with an undulating roof



project info:


project name: shishi-iwa house

architect: shigeru ban

location: karuizawa, japan

opening date: february 1st, 2019

photography: hiroyuki hirai