with its newly completed ‘hotel royal classic,’ globally acclaimed studio kengo kuma and associates (KKAA) pays homage to a mid-century icon of osaka. the hotel project sees the revitalization of the 1958-built osaka shin kabukiza theatre, a masterpiece of architect togo murano who is known for his karahafu gables. while the design team seeks to reconnect the block with its surrounding namba district — one of the centers of the city’s street culture — the building is penetrated with a large passageway that links to the dense streets behind. the program incorporates a contemporary art gallery, further opening the space out to the street.
images © kawasumi | kobayasi kenji photograph office
kengo kuma and associates (KKAA) honors and preserves the original theater by introducing its hotel royal classic as a volume which floats lightly overhead. precast concrete and aluminum panels are used to renovate togo murano’s iconic karahafu gables, while the hotel intervention is wrapped with a curtain wall of aluminum fins. these fins are oriented with an angle of 1,200 millimeters and overlap at random. this strategy provides the curtain wall with a fluctuating surface that suggests the ephemeral, blurred image of clouds or fog.
the architects designed the osaka hotel intervention with a delicate expression to continue the language of the mid-century japanese elements. the historic karahafu gables are named for their noble and elegant character, projecting with a gently curving profile. the team elaborates on its strategy: ‘this represents a challenge on our behalf to use particles that consist of thin aluminum panels to replicate the pattern of karahafu gables created by togo murano in an ongoing attempt to give structures a soft and feminine character.’