Restaurant in Kyoto, Japan

Extending over three floors, the restaurant occupies a site less than 70 m2 in area situated on a busy traffic junction opposite the Daitokuji Temple. The ground floor functions as a zone for the reception of guests and for the collection of takeaway food. The first floor accommodates the actual dining room; and on the second floor are the kitchen and utility areas. A small service lift in the south-east corner links all levels. Vertical circulation is via a staircase in the north-east corner of the building. The nearby temple exercised a strong influence on the design, in which elements of traditional Japanese architecture are used in conjunction with modern materials. Rough exposed concrete walls are combined with horizontally articulated areas of chestnut in the façades. In the interior, dark wood, stone and steel-framed casements are also juxtaposed. The flat-pitched, hipped roof is not visible from the ground. One sees only the line of the eaves, with the result that the roof seems to float above the building. The small planted entrance patio makes reference to the traditional Japanese courtyard. On the first floor, the tall tree planted in the entrance is framed like a picture by a full-height window. The building is distinguished by its considered, restrained admission of daylight. The large windows were deliberately oriented to the courtyard at the northern end and to the temple to the west. External timber slats on this face filter the light that enters and direct the view of visitors to the temple opposite.
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