design projects

Exploring History of the Elementary School in Kyoto

In Kyoto City, overtourism, in which the increase in tourists adversely affects the quality of life of residents, has become a serious social problem. In the past, there were congestions in the specific seasons such as autumn leaves and festivals, but now it continues all year round. In addition to a decrease in convenience, such as congestion in shopping streets, sidewalks, and buses, land prices are rising due to land acquisition through the development of hotels, vacation rentals, villas, etc., and the trend of households raising children moving from the city to the suburbs is accelerating. This phenomenon is occurring not only in Kyoto, but also in European tourist cities such as Paris and London. Under such circumstances, I became involved in the development of a hotel on the site of a former elementary school, and I thought that in order to think about the future of the project, I should first know the history of elementary schools in Kyoto, which is the background of the project, so I started fieldwork and literature research.

During the Muromachi period after the Onin War (1467-1477), local merchants and residents lead the reconstruction of Kyoto devastated by the war. They are proud of it as they did it by themselves instead of samurai and princely families caused the devastation, and it is said that was the time when the self-governing spirit of Kyoto began. During the Edo period before 19th century, it became a target of tourism as an ancient capital, but the emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1872 caused Kyoto’s political and economic power declined. At that time the locals of Kyoto struggled to accept modernisation as quick as possible to revitalise the city, and each of them contributed money to build an elementary school, which is the foundation of today’s elementary school in Kyoto. While many schools nationwide were built under the initiative of the government, elementary schools in Kyoto are proudly built by local people, and even if the schools themselves are closed due to the decrease in the number of children, there is a certain mind that the community has the ownership of elementary school.

Based on this context, we examined what form the hotel should take, what kind of relationship it should have with the community, and what kind of operation it should be carried out before and after opening, and presented a direction. The hotel wills open a few years after the proposal so I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds with some concerns.