Housed in a former hospital in the centre of Hiroshima, Japan, Kiro Hiroshima is a pared-down boutique hotel designed by Hiroyuki Tanaka that swaps extravagance for authenticity, and luxurious amenities for human connection.
In order to pay respect to the building’s past, Hiroyuki Tanaka Architects took a historical approach to its restoration: on the third floor, for instance, what was once a rehabilitation pool is now a lounge and bar. But the pool still remains, its original skeleton left intact and its surfaces made fit for its role in a modern hotel. Since the poolside had a main role in the room, they kept traces of its history in place while developing the surroundings. The studio also tried as hard as possible to maintain the room’s original atmosphere, making use of the existing tiles and large entrance.
The architects say the room exemplifies their goal: making the hotel a place in which tourists can encounter the ‘real Hiroshima’. They believe that the principal factor in making the most of a traveller’s journey is not to have extravagant amenities and facilities, but to interact with the local people and culture. (It’s a goal embodied by the hotel’s name itself: kiro is Japanese for ‘crossroads’.) The concept of interconnectedness is becoming increasingly common among hotels and co-living projects alike, where compact private spaces are offset by larger communal areas. At Kiro Hiroshima, the bar and lounge take on this function, luring guests from their guest rooms and out into the open.