Located on Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, the project intends to be the generator of the community center through its Hotel and Chapel. Therefore, we thought through design, future constructions could be operated, leading to planning of projects that besides having technology and materials that dwell in nature and history, would connect people to this nature`s concept. We found a variety of developments carried out in the 20th century on the urban areas in the reshape of the seawall which made the transition between the natural ecology, land and the lake, an ecotone. During the planning time we tried to reproduce the ecotone that had been destroyed by making a building a part of it. To create a biotope ecology specific for the area, two small lakes were placed on the west side, in the east, people that appreciate the natures balance would plant trees creating natural woods while the project is build. It was challenging to create a building, an artifact while reproducing the local environment not interrupting the ecotone gradient.

Second Award |  RTFA 2014 Awards

Category: Commercial Built 

Participant  Name: Ryuichi Ashizawa

Country: Japan

Ecotone Hotel in Biwa Lake (2)
Ecotone Hotel in Biwa Lake (2)

It was thought for the hotel to capture light, water, wind and heat. Wind from Lake Biwa goes through the space, it travels from north to south, this is achieved by changing the angle of the wall extending from east to west. Slabs, shaped like folded plates are supported by the oblique pillars which aim to create a space where structural beams are not to be seen, in the slabs top, an extended platform lets eaves growing, controlling the space`s solar radiation, these slabs shape can only be perceived from below where exposed into the interior space. The building is surrounded by slabs that are like platforms, becoming then surrounded continuously by nature.

Ecotone Hotel in Biwa Lake (3)
Ecotone Hotel in Biwa Lake (3)

Each place finishing material is made by use of natural materials such as wood, stone and soil from the region. Soil is used and incorporated it to the development of a contemporary plaster using a traditional Japanese technology. The mud wall finished by the plasterer is a mean of storing heat. It also incorporates efficiently natural energy in various elements, such as the finishing materials and structure.

Ecotone Hotel in Biwa Lake (4)
Ecotone Hotel in Biwa Lake (4)

The chapel would be a space where people feel wind blowing from the lake. We sought to make a building similar to an instrument with sound produced naturally. It was applied a tuneful set of strings to recreate an Aeolian harp creating a space where sound plays when the wind passes through like when the Greek mythology’s god Aeolus blows its wind.

Ecotone Hotel in Biwa Lake (5)

This is an instrument interpretation recreated as a space of ceremony, a space that plays sound when the wind passes echoing the waves of the lake, playing different tunes according to different winds. Inside, the sound and feeling interposing between landscape, nature and architecture, an imperceptible variety of natural forces invading the imagination providing contact with phenomenon like light, water, wind, even trees. These region-specific elements planted in the Hotel and Chapel, make people feel the transition between architecture and environment, the ecotone.

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