Imagine: Flowing forms sitting lightly in the landscape, nestled in the forest and changing colour with the seasons. Pathways winding through lush natural gardens, along streams and bubbling brooks, with occasional glimpses and dramatic views of the the magnificent volcano Mt. Yotei. Strolling from neighborhood to village, or hotel to home, without crossing streets and barely ever seeing cars. Skiing out from your front door in the morning, and back to your home in the afternoon on groomed trails that connect directly to the mountain and lifts.

Project Type: Master Plan

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Imagine: Flowing forms sitting lightly in the landscape, nestled in the forest and changing colour with the seasons.  Pathways winding through lush natural gardens, along streams and bubbling brooks, with occasional glimpses and dramatic views of the the magnificent volcano Mt. Yotei.  Strolling from neighborhood to village, or hotel to home, without crossing streets and barely ever seeing cars.  Skiing out from your front door in the morning, and back to your home in the afternoon on groomed trails that connect directly to the mountain and lifts.  A resort community that respects the natural environment, consumes the minimum amount of energy and places the least amount of stress on the local ecology.  A sustainable  resort、with architecture, planning and its landscape environment so integrated as to be indivisible: the first of its kind in Japan, and destined to become renowned throughout the world.

These are some of the features of the Kiku Resort, planned carefully to be integrated with the beauty of the mountain and the un-spoilt character of the area.  Road works are kept to a minimum, and buildings are terraced and shaped to flow with the natural contours of the site, minimizing environmental impact and cost.  Pathways, promenades and “Walks” are carefully orchestrated and programmed to link every part of the resort, enabling resort communities or residential neighborhoods to have their own character and identity while at the same time feel a part of the one special place. This armature of pedestrian routes and promenades also provides residents with easy access to hotel and resort facilities, sevices and amenities.

The Kiku Resort consists of worlds within a world: destinations within a destination. Hanazono Village anchors the northwest end, and is characterized by a tight cluster of buildings in an orthogonal pattern of pedestrian-only streets and squares.  The village open spaces are purposefully compressed to provide an exciting and vibrant urban character, reminiscent of European resort towns as well as traditional Japanese villages.  The planning and architectural form of the village stands in direct contrast to the prosaic, organic character of the Garden Hills residential community, which is spread thinly in the forested landscape while exploiting views to Mt. Yotei wherever possible.

The natural topography of the Garden Hills area reveals a series of distinct hilltops and high plateaus, separated by narrow valleys and streams.  These areas are natural development zones, each becoming a distinct neighborhood with its own identity as reflected by its unique place name.

The Garden Hills area includes the terraced 5-star hotel, located on the most prominent hill, with 180 degree views of the Village, the ski slopes and Mt. Yotei beyond. This location makes it visible from the approach roads to the project, and as first impression sets the image for the resort. Connected to the hotel by a winding, activity-rich promenade called “Mountain Walk” are the slope-side hotel-serviced apartment buildings and mountainside restaurant and event space.  Mountain Walk connects to the Garden Hills neighborhoods by a pedestrian bridge over the circular promenade, making access to the hotel easy and safe for residents of the hotel-managed apartments and villas. Mountain Walk continues at a discrete distance from the ryokan to connect with the Country Club neighborhood.

Around the perimeter of the Garden Hills communities runs the “Forest Circuit”, a winding promenade set well back from roads that links all the neighborhoods with the Country Club (and Residents Club) as well as the 5-star hotel, and by pedestrian overpass to the “Village Trail” which leads to Hanazono Village.

These programmed trails and promenades are a vehicle-free armature for summer pedestrian and bicycle access. They become winter ski-in / ski-out trails which link each neighborhood element into the whole resort system.

Phasing

The distribution of unit typologies and bed types, roads and pedestrian trails follows a phasing logic that enables sequential construction to occur with minimal disturbance to existing communities, and cost-effective additions to infrastructure balanced with saleable product.

The first phase can be divided into two for a more aggressive start and to avoid unnecessary temporary costs. Phase 1A is the immediate construction of the Day Lodge to provide permanent skier services, the permanent relocation of the maintenance facilities and the construction of the Blue Sky Lodge and Villas, as well as the winterization of the Golf Clubhouse and its expansion to include a residents club.  The Blue Sky Lodge as well as the Residents Club can be then used to establish an image and branding for the Resort, and provide a sales point for the next and future phases of development.

New ski lifts are phased with the expansion of the resort, and timed to ensure quality service and ski-in and ski-out access for residents.

The Garden Hills Country Club townhouse development area is contingent on a new water source being approved in the north Garden Hills area. Should this be possible, unit targets set by PCPD (November 5) will be exceeded by 57. If development in this area is not allowed, then the total number of units (including Mountain Retreat) will be 90 under target. Areas for potential future expansion have been identified, but the current density as reflected by the RTA master plan is in our opinion an ideal maximum, without more study.

Setbacks

The Master plan assumes a 30m setback on the boulevard.  Our studies show that should this be reduced to 15m, benefits to the project will be minor, and will largely consist of the provision of more space between buildings.

Architecture

Derived from European alpine traditions, and inflected with a Japanese and International sensibility, the architecture is contemporary and original. The varied forms are simple and organic in the Garden Hills area, curving with the hills and terracing with the slopes for a more natural fit with the environment. The use of stone, glass, wood and reflective materials and shading systems allow the buildings to reflect the ever-changing character of the landscape through the seasons.

The architecture, massing and building locations pay homage to Mt. Yotei and other significant views, and the scale is minimized by landscape placement and heights under 5 storeys. In contrast, the Village buildings are slightly higher and more closely spaced, and the architecture more varied and colourful in keeping with the vibrant nature of the place.

With the exception of day skiers, parking is in basements wherever possible, together with service access to major buildings. This maximizes convenience and usability, adds prestige and value to the project and minimizes environmental impact.

A hierarchy of playfulness and seriousness is evident throughout the resort, in keeping with the nature of organic towns and communities, and in parallel with the distribution of unit types and socio-economic patterns. As a branded resort of World Class standard, however, elegance and dignity is maintained by a consistent approach to quality in the architecture of individual buildings and open spaces.

Kiku Resort is a real, 4-season community that offers something to everyone and provides opportunities for program changes, world-class events and a variety of leisure, recreational and commercial choices. Designed with cultural relevance and sustainable principles, integrated planning, architecture and landscape design to create destinations within a destination, Kiku Resort will occupy a prominent place in the short list of the World’s most prestigious, premium resort developments.

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Kiku Resort