Old Building on Yokai Street Transformed into Cultural SpaceFrench Architect and Others in Kyoto2 September 2015 - Sightseeing/Events
A French architect and others renovated an empty building located in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, and have started running "Yokai SOHO" which has space to be utilized for an art gallery, accommodations, and other purposes. In the Nishijin area where traditional streetscapes can still be found, they have created an atmosphere of "Wa," or Japanese style, with the use of Kitayama cedar and Japanese garden landscaping to please foreign tourists. The architect said, "I want to make a space that is transformed by visitors and also make the place a new cultural base."
Benoit Jacquet, head of the EFEO’s Kyoto Center (Ecole Francaise D'Extreme-Orient) based in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, organized this project with an American architect friend and purchased a building built in 1979, which was previously used as a supermarket and for other purposes. With this project, he hopes to create a space that feels close to actual living in Kyoto amid the increasing number of foreign visitors.
Located at the entrance of Daishogun shopping street which is called "Yokai Street" and is tackling town revitalization with the "Yokai," or ghost, idea, it is a five-story building located in Shichihonmatsunishiiru, Ichijo-dori, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto. Kitayama cedar logs indigenous to Kyoto are arranged to look like standing timber inside the building, adding a typical Japanese relaxed atmosphere to a modern space. The building commands a panoramic view of the Nishijin area's townscape with its traditional townhouses and has a Japanese-style garden on the rooftop.
The building accommodates a café on the first floor, an art gallery on the second floor, some offices and a store selling bicycle equipment and others on the third floor. It has accommodation spaces on the fourth and fifth floors and accepts long-term stays from tourists and artists. Private exhibitions of contemporary artists and others are periodically held in the art gallery and a French publisher and others will rent office space.
Jacquet, who has studied Japanese modern architectural history, etc., in the Kyoto University Graduate School, said hopefully, "I wanted to make a space whose shape was changed by users, with a building transforming like yokai. As the Nishijin area provides a traditional lifestyle and culture experience, it can stimulate the sensitivity of visitors from abroad. The building will become a place of communication that connects people in various fields and helps the development of the local shopping street."
For more information, e-mail Yokai SOHO at firstname.lastname@example.org(translated by Galileo, Inc.)