Doctor of the architecture department at the school of science and engineering at Waseda University. Masayuki Irie is also an architect that has researched architectural history in Catalonia, Spain at the Barcelona school of engineering on a scholarship. There he studied the brilliance of Antonio Gaudi which inspired exemplary structures by Masayuki Irie as an architect and as a writer he has published many book regarding his passion.
2-34-10 Nihonzutsumi Taito, Tokyo, Japan
Masayuki Irie, Jun Ikemura, Takayo Irie
Andon Ryokan, located in Minowa is a welcoming hot spot for backpackers to stay from all over he world. The name "Andon" comes from the traditional Japanese lantern of the Edo period. Ms. Ishii, an active collector of antiques chose her favorite piece of art, an inspiring lantern which now shares the same inviting glow as her lodging house. She wishes her lantern as well as many other pieces from her personal collection help foreign visitor to appreciate the authentic atmosphere and enjoy their stay in Japan even further. Andon Ryokan's design theme was created to bring a settling ambiance, an encouraging background for lively conversations in English.
The building is a five-story steel-frame construction. The guests rooms are from the first to the third floor, and on the fourth and the fifth floor there is a Jacuzzi; a temporary storage room for guests; and the owner's private residence. When I began planning how to represent Japanese style in a steel structure, andon (a traditional Japanese lantern) simply came up in my mind. I carefully designed the mechanism that presents the bright light to the outside which is activated when the guests stay in the room and turn the lights on. Japanese traditional features like paper sliding doors and wood lattice are represented by dot point glazing with translucent glass, metal horizontal louvers, perforated metal and a combination of materials for the panels.
In contrast the interior lighting is muted to mimic the texture of the wooden part of a typical old house's black luster; for this reason the light is directed towards the floor. I hope to create the effect of candles gleaming in the dark spreading slowly out across each surface and texture - just as they might in an old Japanese house. The light creates the illusion of traditional cloth with a pattern of diagonal stripes.
The reception and lounge are on the first floor where guests are able to have meals in a traditional Japanese atmosphere: the kitchen with the appearance of a dirt floor and the wooden floor of the lounge. I hope this ryokan is a lively space where foreign guests can communicate with each other while preparing their meals, and I hope that this leads to Japan becoming more open and accessible to international visitors.
Andon Ryokan is a beautiful building with facade on glass screens, a warm semblance of an Edo period night lamp. It is conveniently located in the town of Nihonzutsumi in the Minowa area. This is where old style stores are attached to homes and concrete buildings coexist. Its central objective is to provide backpackers a roost for their activities in Tokyo, while omitting anything extra from the rooms, seven sq. meters in size complying with hotel regulations. Despite such minimum space, close attention is paid to detail which is achieved by transforming sensitive design elements; low positioned light fixtures and indirect ceiling lights contribute to the modern and traditional blend found at Andon. The simple yet well-calculated design represents the atmosphere and new direction for Japanese inns.
We launched a rooftop terrace when Tokyo Skytree was built on 5/22/2012. We have two tables designed by the artist Mie Ishii. There is a view of Tokyo Tower on the right side of the terrace, and Tokyo Skytree on the left.
There are few tall buildings in shitamachi Minowa district, allowing Tokyo Skytree to stand out when lit at night. It looks just like a huge candle floating in the air.
Andon Ryokan is a great place for breakfast, to enjoy the cool of evening with beer, to sun bathe, reading and yoga at dusk, and relax in the quiet moments of a metropolis.
March 11th, 2011 became the unforgettable date for all of us in Japan. The accident at the nuclear plant has given us an opportunity to look back over our lives and redesign our way of life.
Our Ryokan has been primarily serving foreign visitors. The radioactive leakage made us realize keenly that the travel industry is a peacetime industry. When I thought of the future of Japanese Islands, the miracle islands blessed with diversity, I wanted to protect my country at all cost. I believe all Japanese wish the same.
There are currently only few ways and choices for energy production in urban cities. I believe the shortcut for Japan to become a nuclear free country is for the individuals to try to produce energy as much as possible.
At Andon Ryokan, we installed 3 solar water heating panels on our rooftop on May 22nd, approximately one year from the earthquake disaster. The water heated here is mainly used for the jacuzzi on the 4th floor, and at the same time, we opened the rooftop terrace as a relaxation space for guests, where Tokyo Skytree can be seen beautifully at night.
We will gradually exchange all of the lighting to LED lighting in our facility, and strive to reduce electricity consumption. To protect the future of Japan and children of Japan, and to conserve our animals and plants, we hope that we will stop relying on nuclear power one day by changing individual's awareness. We will make a fresh start as "Eco Andon Rykan" in the near future. Your support is greatly appreciated.
May 22nd, 2012 Toshiko Ishii