Living with nature – culture of the Ainu
For the Ainu, Japan’s indigenous people found mainly in Hokkaido, nature is an object of admiration, for in every tree there resides a god. And as an expression of the importance of receiving a benefit from nature, traditional Ainu houses make use of wood not just for the structural framework but also for roofs and walls using tree bark, leaving nothing wasted.
Through its style of architecture, One Niseko follows this way of thinking about coexisting with nature. The Ainu-inspired eaves at the front of the building comprise raw wood, gently welcoming guests in harmony with the surrounding environment.
The hotel’s entrance concept and several other works were created by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, a professor of the University of Tokyo where in 1979 he completed the Master Course, Department of Architecture, Graduate School of Engineering.
Born in 1954, Mr. Kuma has been the recipient of numerous awards in Japan and overseas, including the 1997 Architectural Institute of Japan Award for Noh Stage in the Forest; First Place, AIA DuPont Benedictus Award for Water/Glass (USA); 2000 Tochigi Prefecture Marronnier Architecture Award for Stone Museum; Tohoku Architecture Award for River/Filter; Director General of Forestry Agency Prize for Nakagawa-machi Bato Hiroshige Museum; and the Mainichi Art Award for Nezu Museum. His recent work includes Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum 2010, Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center 2012, and Nagaoka City Hall Aore.