K8 in Kyoto
Until some time ago, there were, we are told, 12 bars spread over three 2-storey houses on this 50 m2 plot on Kiyamachidori, adjacent to one of Kyoto’s most intricate network of night alleys, Pontocho, where a vibrant mixture of bars, brothels, inns, dwellings, shops have for centuries created an urban atmosphere of essential Kyoto nightlife. With an unobtrusive high-end restaurant next to a (visually less subtle) cheap yakitori, with a hidden gem of a ryokan at the end of the narrowest of side-alleys across an enigmatic place commanding courage to enter, any walk here leads to eventual surprises. Pontocho unfolds to its visitors as a horizontal labyrinth.
Located just behind Pontocho, K8, a small building housing a bar and a gallery, is the translation of that experience into the vertical: one continuous space stretching over eight levels. Here, the evening evolves as a gradually changing course of events, from aperitif on ground level to digestif on the top overlooking Pontocho towards Kamogawa.
As a homogeneous yet continuously changing surface, the façade creates an ambiguity often found in Kyoto’s architecture. Several hundred wooden louvers evoke a sense of motion, as if the building itself were continuously engaging with its environment. From outside, the building’s interior is more concealed than revealed: Facing the building, one is left without a precise answer as to how many floors or how deep the building might be. Towards the sides, the louvers are rotated to a degree that they almost appear to be a solid, albeit nuanced, wall. Towards the middle, varying degrees of transparency give subtle hints about the inside. Walking by sets the façade in motion, the building starts to dance.
K8 has been awarded the 2016 Detail inside prize.
FBA: Florian Busch, Sachiko Miyazaki, Suguru Takahashi, Akira Miyamoto, Antoine Vaxelaire, Renee Reder, Oliver Pershav, Katie Colford (intern), Shiori Sageshima (intern), Anne-Marlene Rüede (intern), Kayo Nakamura (intern)
Structural engineering: OAK (Masato Araya, Tomonori Kawata)
Contractor: Mugishima Corp.
FBA: フロリアン ブッシュ、宮崎佐知子、髙橋卓、宮本哲、アントワン ヴァクセレール、レネー レだー、オリバー パーシャヴ、ケーティー コールフォード（インターン）、提島しおり（インターン）、アン マレン ルエデ（インターン）、中村佳世（インターン）
構造: OAK 新谷眞人、川田知典