KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects have designed a new hostel along an ancient ‘kumano kodo’ pilgrimage route in wakayama, japan. the project, called ‘sen. retreat takahara’, involved the conversion of an existing house and atelier to create guest accommodation for people visiting this incredible UNESCO world heritage site.

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

images by YFT – YAMADA FOTO TECHNIX

the new scheme comprises three volumes and three different functions: a common kitchen and dining area, shower facilities, and guest rooms. despite being physically separated, KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects have used a uniform design language to connect the blocks of varying size. while utilizing parts of the existing building materials, the exteriors have been freshly clad in local kishu cedar boards. over time, the cedar will weather to create a more rustic and rugged look, perfectly in keeping with the ancient road of kumano kodo.

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

the hostel is designed to communicate with the site and to promote social interaction between guests. the main building houses a common living and dining area where people can socialize while enjoying a view out toward the natural plateau beyond. large glass partitions open up to connect the indoor space to a generous exterior terrace. from here, guests can also access a garden where they can participate in growing and harvesting crops. three guest rooms can be found within the main building while the other two are located in the second-largest volume. the smallest block contains the shower facilities. 

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

despite the abundance of natural wood, the designers tried to avoid the feel of an old fashioned timber lodge by incorporating sharp construction details and black accents. this combination results in a warm yet contemporary place that lets visitors get closer to this beautiful and historical area.

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

KURU + coil kazuteru matumura architects complete a hostel in rural japan designboom

project info:

project name: sen. retreat takahara

location: takahara, ooaza, nakahechi-cho, nishimuro-gun, wakayama prefecture, japan

client: nihon unist, inc.

branding design: KURU co.,ltd. (kosuke mizutani) + otto design lab. (yuki hisada)

architectural design: KURU co.,ltd. (junji oshiba) + coil kazuteru matumura architects (kazuteru matumura)

construction: oomine-gumi co.,ltd.

completion: april 2020

structure: timber

site area: 14,508.35 ft2 (1347.87 m2)

built area: 1,722.33 ft2 (160.01 m2)

total floor area: 1,956.02 ft2 (181.72 m2)

keishiro yamada of YFT – YAMADA FOTO TECHNIX