Winner of Excellent Award from the Hospitality Category, Takashige Yamashita + YoungAh Kang

Hosted by NPO Aoyama Design Forum(ADF), the "ADF Design Award 2024" has chosen Yamashita + YoungAh Kang's work (Takashige Yamashita Office), as the Excellent Award in the Hospitality category. Here is an interview article with them, to introduce the award-winning work and the story behind the designing process.


Can you tell us about your background as an architect?

Yamashita completed his postgraduate studies at Geidai and worked at SANAA for 10 years before setting up his own practice. Kang studied architecture in Canada, the US and the UK, and met Kang when they were also working at SANAA, where they have been designing together since 2017. We approach design with a multifaceted mindset and approach to design that comes from our different backgrounds.


Takashige Yamashita


YoungAh Kang

Do you have a particular area or phase of architecture that you specialise in?

The initial proposal of an architectural form based on the client's requirements is an exciting phase, but as the project progresses, I focus on the process of satisfying various conditions through dialogue, such as new requirements, constraints to make the architecture viable, performance, cost and construction methods. This is a phase in which we focus on the process of fulfilling various conditions. The shape of the architecture changes rapidly as new conditions are added, but we place importance on how purely we can realise the initial image.

What inspires you when you are generating ideas, and do you have a unique philosophy in terms of the method you use to put your ideas together?

I get a lot of inspiration from the site and the surrounding environment where the architecture is located. When designing, I first make a model of the site, and try to identify as many possibilities as possible as to how the architecture should stand. In the process, I try to draw an attractive story about how the architecture will connect with its surroundings, how it will function and what kind of new environment it will create.


What kind of creativity outside of architecture are you interested in? Do you incorporate them into your work?

I am influenced by different fields at different times, so I don't have a specific one, but I would venture to say that I am interested in creativity that tells a story. I'm attracted to works that have a flow with changes and expansions, and that ultimately land firmly in some form, like an origin and conclusion. We aim to create works that give a sense of that kind of narrative in the architecture we design.

What is the background to this work and how did you arrive at the deliverables?

The architectural form of the "Reception on the Ridge" was born when we considered the harmony between the existing man-made gable-shaped buildings and the natural setting of the forest at the foot of Mt Fuji. The gabled and rectangular elevations, connected by a curving roof, form a group of buildings on the hilltop that together with their natural surroundings form a single landscape. In the process of finding the form, I made a lot of models, mainly on paper, for study. Paper has the advantage of allowing me to quickly create the shapes I have imagined in my mind, and some shapes appear suddenly through trial and error. I am exploring designs that are both coincidental and inevitable.

What kind of work would you like to create in the future?

I will continue to reflect as much as possible in the architecture in response to design requests, but I would like to create works that enable the people who use and visit the architecture to discover new discoveries and values.

What is your impression of ADF?

I think ADF is one of the few organisations in Japan that provides a broad platform for design in general. It is a great honour for architects and designers who want to expand their activities in the future to be given the opportunity to exhibit at a global design scene such as Milan Design Week. I believe that your efforts to create such rare opportunities and cultural and social contribution activities have truly led to the formation of a broad platform.

Do you have any advice on how ADF can further raise its profile and become a more valuable award in the future?

As a platform originating from Japan, it is a valuable opportunity for designers in Japan to have their work evaluated by overseas juries according to global standards, as was the case this time, and to have their work looked at from a new perspective. I hope that the awards will focus on young people, including ourselves, who don't have that many works or who have just started working, and give them a chance to push their activities towards the world.



Fernando Menis / Architect / JURY OF ADF DESIGN AWARD 2024

Situated along the scenic mountain road to Mount Fuji from Gotemba, Shizuoka, "Reception on the Ridge" beautifully captures both the natural and architectural essence of its surroundings. Beyond serving as a welcoming spot, it transforms into a destination in its own right, impeccably intertwined with the grandeur of nature and the serene scenery. Takashige Yamashita Office achieves meticulous integration with the environment through sensitive design and appropriate scale.