shishi-iwa house: a boutique hotel by shigeru ban opens its doors in karuizawa

shishi-iwa house: a boutique hotel by shigeru ban opens its doors in karuizawa

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


    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    504,219 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine