'PokoPoko' clubhouse by klein dytham architecture emerges from the forests of central japan

Mar 09, 2021

located just a 75 minute bullet train journey from the center of tokyo, this hotel building immerses guests in the woodland of japan’s tochigi prefecture. designed by klein dytham architecture, the project appears as a contemporary cottage that evokes the feeling of being inside a fairy tale. named ‘PokoPoko’, a word which means to stick-out or stick-up in japanese, the building serves as a family oriented clubhouse and activity center for guests staying at the risonare hotel complex.

located in the nasu highlands in the northern corner of japan’s tochigi prefecture, the hotel is situated in a rural farming region that neighbors mount nasu. the project was born from the client’s wish to connect two hotel buildings on the current site. the vision included an extension and renovation of both buildings and rooms, an original smaller guest house from 1986 and its later addition, bringing the total number of rooms on site to 40. a new footbridge connects the two complexes, meandering through the lush forest.

within this forest, klein dytham architecture’s PokoPoko clubhouse appears with its three coned roofs protruding in different directions above the treeline. internally, each volume has its own program. the central cone provides space for cooking activities based on the fresh ingredients grown on the hotel’s own grounds. the space hosts a variety of food-related workshops for children and parents, while a wood-log oven lets guests make their own pizzas with vegetables and herbs picked from the nearby fields.

within the adjacent cone, a tall white net structure serves as a play area for children to climb up towards the skylight. meanwhile, younger children can play in the ball pit at its base. on the opposite side, parents are able to relax around the open fireplace in the third cone. klein dytham architecture’s ‘doradora’ furniture provides guests with a place to sit and converse or read a book in the warmth of the fire.

the roof structures are made from local pine. two slender timber members with spaced off-cuts form beams, which rise from a lower steel ring beam to a smaller ring which is a part of the roof light. see other projects by klein dytham architecture on designboom here, including a curved visitor center and ice rink and a multi-use interior space in bangkok.

image by mark dytham

image by nacasa & partners

image by nacasa & partners

image by nacasa & partners

image by nacasa & partners

image by nacasa & partners

image by nacasa & partners

image by nacasa & partners

image by nacasa & partners

floor plan / level 0 image courtesy of klein dytham architecture

section image courtesy of klein dytham architecture

elevation image courtesy of klein dytham architecture

project info:

name: PokoPoko club house location: risonare nasu hotel, tochigi prefecture, japan architect: klein dytham architecture contractor: tobu construction client: hoshino resort structural engineer: TECTONICA M&E: architectural energy research landscape designer: studio TERRA lighting designer: FDS